Deadly virus kills 42 racehorses in Korat

Deadly virus kills 42 racehorses in Korat

Veterinarian suspects African horse sickness, movement of all horses banned

A horse tender takes a horse for cleaning at a farm in an unknown location in Nakhon Ratchasima. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)
A horse tender takes a horse for cleaning at a farm in an unknown location in Nakhon Ratchasima. (Photo by Prasit Tangprasert)

NAKHON RATCHASIMA: At least 42 racehorses have died of what a veterinarian suspects are the first cases of African horse sickness in the country.

The dead animals were found during an inspection of barns in Pak Chong district, said Pasawee Somjai, a veterinarian with the provincial office of the Department of Livestock Development.

He did not give further details about the barns or their location or when the deaths had taken place.

Samples from the carcasses have been sent for a detailed autopsy at the National Institute of Animal Health, he said, adding that test results are expected in a week.

African horse sickness is a deadly viral disease that originated in Africa. It mainly attacks horses and donkeys, with gnats being the carriers. The virus attacks the lungs and respiratory system quickly and can kill a horse within hours.

Mr Pasawee said all the dead horses in the province were buried to prevent the insects from spreading the disease to others.

The deaths could have taken place before Thursday, as the Thailand Equestrian Federation had circulated a letter dated March 26 advising all members to stop moving horses out of their areas to stem the possible spread of the disease.

The letter was issued after the federation was notified about the sudden deaths of several houses in part of the northeastern region, it added.

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