Photo: Hoosier Park Fan (flickr)
A few years ago, several outbreaks of the blood-borne disease equine piroplasmosis popped up in racetracks around the country.
Dr. Sandie Norman is the Director of Companion Animals and Equine at the state Board of Animal Health. She says the board wanted to prevent outbreaks from occurring at tracks in Indiana.
“We instituted a test requiring thoroughbreds and quarter horses to be tested prior to coming to the track so we did not have a similar outbreak that would cause disruption of business at the track,” she says.
Dr. Norman says in the last few years, people have been studying the disease and working to isolate it to horses that do not race. The isolation has been successful enough that Indiana decided to drop the annual testing the requirement. Horses will still have to be checked every few years.
Racehorse-owner and Indiana Horse Council President Jim Nole is glad the requirement has been lifted.
“I know all the horseman was really upset about having to get the test and for what it cost and everything,” he says.
Racehorse owners will be saving anywhere from $40 to $70 per horse each year. Horses will still receive testing for other common diseases and drugs such as steroids, depending on track requirements.