March 12 - An update released by the Florida Department of Agriculture on March 11 revealed that as a result of extensive testing with no new positive results for Equine Herpes Virus-1, state officials are preparing to release the quarantine on the HITS Post Time Farm showgrounds in Ocala.
"Sample collection for testing was performed at HITS Tents 3, 6, and 7 yesterday [March 10]. Additionally, several premises with quarantines outside of the HITS Showground were tested. In total, over 200 horses were tested and all laboratory results were negative. As a result, the HITS showground and several premises outside of the HITS showground are scheduled to be released from quarantine tomorrow March 13]," the release stated.
“HITS Ocala elected to test all the horses under observation at the three-week mark, rather than waiting one more week and allowing the quarantine to extend 28 days and time out,” said HITS CEO and President Tom Struzzieri. “All the horses tested negative which speaks volumes for the excellent bio-security measures practiced by HITS exhibitors and staff alike.” At 8 a.m. on March 13, the HITS Post Time Farm gates will open to horses shipping in and out of the facility.
For all the information about the recent EHV-1 outbreak in Florida, see updates at www.chronofhorse.com.
The protocol measures that HITS began putting in place this winter will be required at all future HITS shows, including HITS Culpeper (Va.) and HITS Saugerties (N.Y.). “The required protocol we had at HITS Thermal [Calif.] this year will now become required for all future HITS shows,” Struzzieri said. “It is clear that such protocols are in the best interest of horse health and the equine industry as a whole.”
That protocol includes:
Required upon entry to [HITS show facilities] all horses must have certification for:
1) Negative Coggins - Veterinary documentation dated within three months (90 days) of the start of the circuit. This includes horses that originate from the state where the event is being held.
2) Health Certificate - Issued within 30 days of arrival. Note: If the horse leaves the HITS property, a newly dated health certificate will be required upon re-entry.
3) Event Participation Declaration - Signed by the owner/agent/trainer verifying that the horse has been healthy with no sign of infectious disease and has not had a fever above 102°F within 72 hours (3 days) of entry. (Event Participation Declaration Form available at HitsShows.com, and in the prize list.)
4) Proof of Vaccination - Via a signed statement from the attending veterinarian that the horse has been vaccinated against the following:
(Within 6 months/180 days of entry)
1. Eastern and Western Equine Encephalomyelitis
4. West Nile Virus
(Within 3 months/90 days of entry)
5. Equine Influenza
6. EHV 1 and EHV 4
These heath documents are required upon entry [to HITS facilities] and copies must be filed in the Show Office before any competition numbers will be issued. The results on all required papers should indicate the horse’s registered (show) name.
Any horse not accompanied by these documents will be directed to the show veterinary clinic to obtain the required documents and/or vaccinations. Horses showing signs of fever, illness or stress are subject to examination by HITS officials and/or the show veterinarian who may, at their sole discretion, place the horse in quarantined stabling or take further action if deemed necessary.