Racecourses, trainers and veterinarians have been alerted following confirmation of an outbreak of the neurological form of equine herpes virus-1 (EHV-1) at a British racing stable.
Victor Dartnall’s stables at Higher Shutscombe, near Barnstaple, in Devon, have been voluntarily quarantined after the potentially fatal disease was diagnosed.
The director of equine science and welfare with the British Horseracing Authority, Professor Tim Morris, said: “We have been working with the trainer and his veterinary surgeon to ensure that the correct, robust security measures have been put in place.
“It is in theory possible that horses may have been infectious before the signs of the disease appeared.
“We have therefore alerted racecourse, trainer and veterinary representatives to possible exposure, but stress that the actual risk of transmission of this virus in a controlled raceday environment is relatively small.
“This emphasises the importance of trainers being vigilant for signs of disease.”
Dartnall confirmed to local media that several of his young horses were very sick.
Horses from Dartnall’s stables were running at Wincanton, Exeter and Chepstow in recent weeks.
Dartnall said the alarm was raised when some horses started to run fevers and developed worrying symptoms.