Kevin Ryan yard on temporary shutdown as horse tests positive for herpes virus

By Andy Stephens@StevoGG
Thu 1 Jun 2017

By Andy Stephens

Leading trainer Kevin Ryan has temporarily been barred from running his horses after a case of Equine Herpes was discovered in his yard.

The British Horseracing Authority announced on Thursday afternoon it has placed a temporary stop on Ryan’s yard which prevents him from making declarations for races in Britain until further notice.

He trains a string of about 120 in Hambleton, North Yorkshire.

The BHA is working with Ryan, his staff and veterinary surgeon to ensure that the correct disease control measures are in place.

These measures include increased biosecurity, further testing and a quarantine stop on the premises.

Two further yards, those of Bryan Smart and Michael Herrington, have also been quarantined as a precaution due to the close proximity of the yards and the sharing of horseboxes.

No diagnosed cases have been identified at either, but the temporary measure has been put in place in the interests of risk control.

The equine herpes virus has two strains. One can cause respiratory problems, abortion in pregnant mares and, in rare cases, neurological problems leading to paralysis; while the other most commonly causes respiratory problems and occasionally abortion in pregnant mares.

Early signs of equine herpes include increased temperature, coughing, nasal discharge and lack of interest in food.

David Sykes, Director of Equine Health and Welfare for the BHA, said: “Cases of the neurological form of EHV-1 are occasional and, while the disease can be extremely serious for the affected horses, with proper surveillance and disease control the virus can usually be effectively contained.

“While the risk of the virus being transmitted in a controlled raceday environment is relatively small, it is in theory possible that horses from the yard in question may have been infectious some time before the disease was diagnosed. For this reason we have taken measures to alert trainers, as well as racecourses and veterinary surgeons, to be vigilant to the clinical signs.

“The decision to close the further yards is based on the identification of risk factors, namely the proximity of yards and the sharing of horse boxes. These measures have been taken as a precaution, with the safety of the horse population very much in mind.”  

All potentially affected parties are being advised to refer to the NTF Code of Practice for Infectious Diseases of Racehorses in Training, the Animal Health Trust website and the recently launched Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) “EquiBioSafe” app for guidance on surveillance for the disease and steps to take should any symptoms or risks be identified.

These steps include immediately contacting Sykes and ensuring that the horse is not moved from the premises.

Ryan has had two winners from 43 runners in the past fortnight, and 19 from 232 this season.

He began training in 1989 and his many big-race triumphs include winning the French Derby and Irish Champion Stakes with The Grey Gatsby in 2014.

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