The Onslaught of EHV-1: Implications for the Horse Racing Industry

Recent events have shredded the equine community with a spike of shock. At Buffalo Raceway in NY, an outbreak of what's known as EHV-1 (Equine Herpesvirus-1) has led to the quarantine of thirty-six horses [1]. Yes, you read it correctly, the horse herpes hit at a raceway party, and it sure is a party pooper.

EHV-1 is an overachieving virus, causing quite a few problems, like a successful multilevel-marketing scheme, including respiratory disease, abortion, and neurological disorders [2]. Transmitted via contact with infected animals or items, the virus loves spaces where horses get cozy - like racetracks [3]. Not exactly the ‘house gift’ you want at a racing event.

Monetary effects of Major EHV-1 Outbreaks

When EHV-1 crashes the party, it leaves in its’ wake some major implications for the industry. Racehorse movement restrictions and quarantines misalign the stars for racetrack owners, trainers, and the jockeys. It's a trickle-down effect of financial losses, and let us not forget, the consequential decline in betting, and audience attendance [4].

New York’s Strategy against Spreading EHV-1

Fear not. New York racetracks are nipping the problem in the bud, adopting measures to ward off EHV-1. Armed with effective biosecurity protocols and an Oplan Quarantine, these include vaccination drives and amped-up sanitation efforts [5]. Hats off to the New York State Gaming Commission which has even issued outbreak guidelines for racetracks to follow [6].

EHV-1’s Toll on Equine Performance and Health

The effects of EHV-1 on horses can be compared to an uninvited obnoxious party guest. Infected horses might show respiratory symptoms like coughing and nasal discharge, or shaky neurological symptoms like coordination loss and paralysis [7]. And sadly, fitness and performance may take a hit with potential long-term health problems, or worse, career-ending injuries [8]. It seems EHV-1 doesn't respect the concept of 'playing fair'.

EDCC's Role in the Equestrian Outbreak

The EDCC (Equine Disease Communication Center) is like the watchdog of the equine disease world. This organization is a reservoir of infectious disease information and serves a significant role in managing equine diseases [9]. The Center’s Health Watch program alerts the industry about disease outbreaks and guides biosecurity measures and prevention strategies [10].

The Power of Continued Research into EHV-1 Vaccination

Like weary heroes in a post-apocalypse movie, researchers are working tirelessly on EHV-1. While current vaccines ameliorate the disease's severity, they don't offer full protection from all EHV-1 strains [11]. So, our science champions continue to forge ahead, researching more highly effective vaccines and improving prevention strategies [12].

In sum, this EHV-1 invasion only underscores the significance of biosecurity, effective communication, and continuous research in horse racing. Consequences of EHV-1 make it imperative to frame comprehensive tactics for disease prevention and management. Here’s to winning that fight!


  1. The Horse. (2023, February 15). EHV-1 Confirmed at New York Racetrack
  2. Merck Veterinary Manual
  3. American Association of Equine Practitioners
  4. Horses in Transit. (2021, March 15). The Economic Impact of Equine Disease Outbreaks
  5. American Association of Equine Practitioners. Biosecurity for Horses
  6. New York State Gaming Commission. (2022, January 1). Equine Disease Outbreak Response Plan
  7. Merck Veterinary Manual. Equine Herpesvirus Infections
  8. American Association of Equine Practitioners. Equine Herpesvirus
  9. Equine Disease Communication Center
  10. Equine Disease Communication Center. Health Watch
  11. American Association of Equine Practitioners. Equine Herpesvirus Vaccines
  12. National Institutes of Health. Equine Herpesvirus