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Horses at Woodbine Racetrack threatened by herpes outbreak

Woodbine Racetrack is facing a herpes outbreak that is threatening thoroughbred horses.

The Star has reported the Ontario Racing Commission’s Manager of Veterinary Services, Dr. Adam Chambers, has been working on the situation since Tuesday.

The outbreak of a strain of equine herpes virus that attacks the brain has led to one horse being euthanized and several others showing symptoms.

While one of the barns on the property that houses about 60 horses has tested negative for the virus, another barn remains under quarantine.

The cause of the outbreak is unknown, but Chambers suspects it was stress.

He says most horses carry the virus, but it lies dormant much like chickenpox in humans.

The virus is highly contagious and when active can pass from one animal to another with just a sneeze.

It is treatable, but the disease can cause problems that are lethal or career-ending for racehorses.