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Guelph, ON April, 23,2020 - Could the same biomarkers linking low vitamin D to seriously ill humans be present in horses?  Starting this spring, Ontario Veterinary College researcher, Dr. Luis Arroyo and his team will be collecting and analyzing equine blood samples measuring vitamin D and other biomarkers of inflammation and systemic disease.  They expect to find major disorders of hormonal pathways, much like in human studies looking at hypovitaminosis D as a marker of disease severity.  This knowledge could be pivotal to future studies looking into clinical intervention at the earliest stages.   Equine enterocolitis (diarrhea, colitis) is a major cause of equine deaths worldwide.  “It is a black box,” says Arroyo as he recalls a staggering statistic from a recently published paper out of California.  The paper stated that in 13 years of studying over 700 enterocolitis cases, the cause of the disease was unknown at least 65% of the time.  Colitis can result in loss of hormonal control, metabolic/ electrolyte / fluid imbalances, and organ failure.   Horses are hindgut fermenters and they depend on the microbiota in the gut to break down what they eat and produce energy.  Disturbance of this ecology will affect the health of the horse directly.  Colitis causes inflammation of the intestine and the horse can end up with diarrhea.  When this occurs and there is significant nutrient loss, they can end up becoming very sick.     Vitamin D is involved in regulation of calcium and phosphorus, bone health, controls the immune system, and reduces inflammation.  Currently, there is no information on how the blood levels of vitamin D change in sick and healthy adult horses.   “This research project is not about the pathogenesis of colitis but more on how the horse responds to this disease and how the system is coping with it,” says Arroyo.  “Much like taking a car to the mechanic and having them perform tests to see what is wrong; the research is very much in the diagnostic stage to see what is wrong in the digestive system.”   “Can we better understand what is going on in these cases and then better manage them, help them recover faster or even prevent them?” asks Arroyo.  “With this knowledge comes the possibility of modulating what is going on in the intestine.”   Arroyo stated that it is quite common to have several cases of colitis admitted to the OVC in a month.  The diligence in the research will be collecting samples from each horse, every day for at least four consecutive days.  They will analyzing at 6- 8 different metabolites.  “We want to understand the progression,” says Arroyo regarding the importance of collecting samples for at least 4 days from the same horses.   “The focus will be to follow horses with colitis but we also want to understand patterns in horses with different conditions as well as healthy horses,” says Arroyo.  The research plan includes analyzing serum samples of 40 horses, including a control group.   “We are interested in the talk between the adrenal glands and the brain and how one can stimulate or inhibit the other,” says Arroyo.  “If disorders of hormonal pathways are discovered, this knowledge will be useful for future studies.  Some of these so-called vitamins, they are actually viewed now as hormones, as they have a function more like a hormone playing important roles in multiple organs.  Hormone therapy has shown promise in treating humans.  We want to see where there are opportunities to intervene in the early stages for horses with colitis.”    Arroyo is looking forward to collaborating with expert in Equine Endocrinology from The Ohio State University, Dr. Ramiro Toribio on this exciting new research study.  New OVC faculty, Dr. Diego Gomez, will also be part of the team in this project kindly funded by Equine Guelph.   Equine Guelph

Nakhon Ratchasima, April 20 (Reuters) - Thailand began vaccinating some 4,000 horses on Monday in a bid to contain the spread of the deadly African Horse Sickness (AHS), a disease that only affects horses and other equine animals. More than 200 horses in seven provinces have died since the outbreak was first reported earlier this year, the first time the highly infectious AHS virus, transmitted by insects, has appeared in Southeast Asia. Horse owners in northeastern Nakhon Ratchasima province have installed mosquito nets on stables and conduct regular temperature and health checks, while putting sick horses under quarantine. The government has also banned the import and export of horses, zebras and related animals. Veterinarians say if the disease cannot be contained by mass vaccination, it could wipe out all 11,800 horses in Thailand, where they are kept for racing and leisure riding for tourists and private owners. "Without any prevention, 10 out of 10 horses will contract the virus... nine out of 10 sick horses will die from it," Aree Laikul a veterinarian from Kasetsart University's faculty of Veterinary Medicine who is helping the vaccination drive. There have been no reported cases of AHS in humans, and it is not related to the coronavirus pandemic. AHS is endemic in the central tropical regions of Africa, from where it spreads regularly to Southern Africa and occasionally to North Africa, according to information from the World Organization for Animal Health. (Editing by Kay Johnson & Simon Cameron-Moore)   By Panu Wongcha-um and Panarat Thepgumpanat   Reprinted with permission of Reuters

There was a time in the 1980s and early nineties that the name of William (Bud) Fritz was synonymous with harness racing in Ontario. The Fritz stable came as close to dominating the province’s sires stakes program as any single operation ever has. - The Canadian Horse Racing Hall Of Fame. Enter granddaughter Monica Fritz of Walkerton, Ontario. She’s a 22-year-old student getting set to graduate from the University of Guelph with a degree in Animal Biology. She says her next step in education is ‘hopefully’ vet school. “That’s what I’m aiming for,” states Fritz. “I’m really looking forward to starting my new job with the Milton Equine Clinic, working under Dr. Marc Desjardins, in May.” Like her grandpa Bud and like her father Dale - Monica, too, has raced horses and won with them here in Ontario. “My Dad got Jamigo to the races back in 2010,” she says. “He was always a good trotter around Hanover and London, but then he got claimed away from us in the Spring of 2013. That summer we’d get North Leigh to the races and he’d win for us at Hanover, in his second lifetime start, but his career ended suddenly after just five races.” Sounds like it would be a tough blow to any seasoned veteran of the game, let alone a teenager, but Monica stayed with it. “I love the horses - I’ve been around them my whole life and I do get really attached to them, but this losing a horse to a claim or anything else - well I learned very quickly that it’s sometimes just part of the business.” Jamigo never did make it to the winner’s circle, following that particular claim, until he made it back to the Fritz barn that Fall. “I was able to get him back privately from horseman Dennis Morrissey,” she says. “We picked him up after not finding anything at the yearling sale, that year, in London and right off the bat he was racing good for us again.” Jamigo would spend the next few years racing for Team Fritz, trotting to a mark of 1:59.3 and racing plenty of Preferred action as well. In November, of 2015, Jamigo got claimed again and since then he’s been racing mainly up around Rideau and Three Rivers. “He’s in Ottawa now and I still enjoy following him and his races.” Like so many others, involved in the industry, Monica’s racing roots run deep… “Our family goes back a long ways in this business and I’ve always enjoyed being a part of it… I’m very proud to be my Dad’s biggest fan. I’ve always wanted to be there for him and we’re still close - watching old replays and stuff now and then. I just feel very lucky to be a part of this family that is so passionate about horses.” The earliest memories for Fritz, around The Raceway, involve the pacer Back To Back Jack. “My dad bought him as a yearling in London (2004) when I was six and we’ve had him ever since. He’s always been one of my best friends for sure. Everything about him is just special and he’s got that forever home with our family.” Hall of Famer Bud Fritz is on the ownership line for the good pacer Im Not Bad who’s raced in London plenty of times. “My Grandma (the late Ethel Fritz) loved him at the yearling sale (2014) and picked him out for Grandpa… He was dark and had some nice markings - a real looker! I can remember him winning his first start at The Raceway in 2017… Uncle Terry (Fritz) races him.” Reflecting on her Grandparents… “Bud has always been a man of a few words. A great all-around horseman who could do anything with any racehorse. He instilled his hard work ethic in all of us and our family has a lot of great memories of his time in racing… Grandma, no longer with us, was my best friend. I really looked up to her - raising nine children - plus she helped Grandpa lots too. She looked after all of us and was the backbone of our family for sure.”  And going forward… “I’ve been doing everything for school online and helping out at the barn with my fiancé, Jake Roberts, who works for trainer Rob Fellows. My job in Milton will be starting soon - so I’m really looking forward to that.” And what about a return to harness racing for Monica? “I’ve always known that I wanted to be in this industry, but I wanted to be something, maybe, unique to the business within our family. I’m sure I’ll be involved in one way or another.” And finally - any words of encouragement to share with your fellow horse people during this downtime from racing? “Try to stay busy - try to keep motivated and look forward to better days ahead.” SHANNON DOYLE​ TRACK ANNOUNCER

Guelph, ON Mar. 30, 2020 - Equine Guelph has opened a FREE offering of their online Sickness Prevention in Horses course ($85 value - free with coupon code) in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.   TheHosePortal.ca course is based on the Canadian standard for equine biosecurity.  While many are at home for the next few weeks, this is an ideal time to learn online and develop your own action plan and backup arrangements.   Maintaining health is everyone’s responsibility. Biosecurity is a word and practice not well understood by an unsettling number of public riding facilities.   How many people wipe down the chains and snaps on cross-ties with disinfectant because they understand this is one of many practices that can reduce the risk of disease spread?  This is just one of the simple take-aways from Equine Guelph’s free Biosecurity Calculator online healthcare tool.   Other agricultural industries such as poultry and dairy follow strict protocols to ensure the health of their animals.  Every person entering a facility has to log in and out.  They follow the rules of National Codes of Practice and Biosecurity.  The horse industry also has a National Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines and a National Farm and Facility Level Biosecurity standard for the Equine Sector.      Those who have read and follow those guidelines may well lament over the number of facilities that immediately introduce an unknown horse into it’s herd with complete optimism that nothing will go wrong.  In this time of heightened alert, all reliable sources of education to prevent sickness are our salvation.  We all can and must take steps to safeguard health of both humans and animals.   Just what do you say to someone who comes back from their boarding barn search with the complaint, “Oh, it’s a lovely facility but they want to quarantine my horse for the first month - that will be inconvenient and I want my horse to have group turn-out.”?  The COVID-19 outbreak has made us all keenly aware of the importance of physical distancing as a crucial way to prevent the spread of disease.  Asymptomatic (no evidence of symptoms) does not equate to no health risk to others.   Our minds should instantly become more at ease when a facility has a quarantine protocol, wants to see vaccination records or even wants to see results from a strangles swab.  Horses are social, herd animals and being with their herd mates is an important component of their welfare but there is also an important balance to strike in safeguarding herd health.    If a horse enters a stable (perhaps travelling from a ‘hot spot’ – e.g. auction or yearling sale to name but two) asymptomatic upon arrival but they happen to be carrying a transmittable disease – what then?  They can pass the disease on to the entire herd.  That is inconvenient, costly and in the worst-case scenarios deadly. It is also a preventable welfare issue for the horses that suffer from the disease.   In this unprecedented time of social distancing, people are becoming acutely aware of the importance of carefully monitoring health and following quarantine protocols.   Monitoring for fever, cough and signs of sickness is daily news at the moment.   In a recent  article run by the Toronto Star regarding the COVID-19 pandemic, Amy Greer, Canada research chair in population disease modelling at the University of Guelph  was quoted “It’s possible that Ontario will never experience the level of community transmission that the model estimates — just as it’s also possible that the province is on the cusp of a wider outbreak.  From a public health perspective, that’s always the challenge,” said Greer,  “If we do a really good job, people say, ‘Well you were overreacting, because nothing happened.’”   Well-run equestrian facilities and well informed horse owners closely monitor horses that have recently traveled.  Temperatures are taken daily along with a thorough horse health check.  Feed buckets, water buckets, tack, stall-cleaning equipment are not shared.  Hoses are never allowed to touch down into the buckets when they are refilled.  New arrivals may be able to see but not touch other horses.  Ideally, a separate quarantine barn is utilized.   For existing residents, such as horses returning home from being on the show circuit (higher risk location) best practices are to turn them out together but separate from the herd that does not travel.     Dr. Scott Weese, infection control expert at the University of Guelph has been very busy with his Worms and Germs blog as of late, providing advice for the FAQ’s coming in from animal owners. Weese was recently interviewed by TVO What we know — and don’t know — about how COVID-19 affects animals.  Weese is also featured in many resources in Equine Guelph’s biosecurity resources.   Maintaining health is the responsibility of everyone.   Arm yourself with scientifically proven information.  Ensure you have a written plan in case you get sick or injured to ensure ongoing care for your horses.   Stay safe everyone during this COVID-19 pandemic.  When it is all over may we all emerge strong, informed and vigilant in biosecurity best practices.    Equine Guelph’s Resources for Equine Health & Biosecurity: Equine Guelph’s Biosecurity Calculator - free online healthcare tool Equine Guelph’s Sickness Prevention online short course - Special FREE offering! Equine Guelph’s Health & Disease 12-week online course   Equine Guelph HEALTHflash Alert – COVID-19 - Caring for your horse during a pandemic    COVID-19 resources helpful for horse owners and caretakers     Notes to Editor: Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca.   Story by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions - Equine Guelph   Photos:  (images available upon request)    Photo Caption: Have you created an action plan to care for your animals?   Web Link(s):  Story web link: https://thehorseportal.ca/2020/03/protect-your-herd-equine-guelph-announces-a-free-offering-of-online-sickness-prevention-course/   Other web links:   FREE offering of Equine Guelph's Online Sickness Prevention in Horses course https://thehorseportal.ca/course/sickness-prevention-in-horses-s20/   National Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines https://equineguelph.ca/pdf/tools/codeofpractice/equine_code_of_practice%20(1).pdf   National Farm and Facility Level Biosecurity Standard for the Equine Sector  https://www.equineguelph.ca/pdf/tools/CFIA_ACIA-7979460-v1-Equine-Standard-English-PDF-Final.pdf    Toronto Star article: https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2020/03/10/social-distancing-could-go-a-long-way-toward-slowing-down-covid-19-researchers-say.html?fbclid=IwAR29CXayus3I2LUofg6A7Xg-Z8520SicukLH-0moAC8KM5RmG9J87W__UQ4   Worms and germs blog by infection control expert, Dr. Scott Weese https://www.wormsandgermsblog.com/   TVO story with Dr. Weese: https://www.tvo.org/article/what-we-know-and-dont-know-about-how-covid-19-affects-animals   Equine Guelph HEALTHflash Alert – COVID-19 - Caring for your horse during a pandemic   https://www.equineguelph.ca/news/index.php?content=666   COVID-19 resources helpful for horse owners and caretakers https://thehorseportal.ca/covid-19-updates-resources/   Equine Guelph’s Biosecurity Calculator https://www.equineguelph.ca/Tools/biosecurity.php   Equine Guelph’s Sickness Prevention online short course https://thehorseportal.ca/course/equine-biosecurity-standard/   Equine Guelph’s Health & Disease 12-week online course https://courses.opened.uoguelph.ca/search/publicCourseSearchDetails.do?method=load&courseId=17916       Jackie Bellamy-Zions Communications Equine Guelph Guelph, ON  N1G 2W1 519.824.4120 ext. 54756 jbellamy@uoguelph.ca  

Columbus, OH - To assist harness racing horsemen during the current circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Trotting Association has created a resource center of valuable information for industry participants. Contents COVID-19 Information and Facts President’s COVID-19 Guidelines Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) – Coronavirus Resource Page United Horse Coalition – Coronavirus Resource Page Federal Government Information Internal Revenue Service Small Business Administration (SBA) – Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EID Loans) Federal Communications Commission (FCC) – Keep America Connected – Phone and Internet Service State Government Information (alphabetical by state) Horsemen’s Association Information (alphabetical by state)   COVID-19 Information and Facts Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) –   https://www.cdc.gov/ President’s COVID-19 Guidelines – www.coronavirus.gov Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) – Coronavirus Resource Page The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) published a Coronavirus resource page on its website featuring items to help horse owners navigate this disease pandemic.  http://equinediseasecc.org/coronavirus-resources United Horse Coalition – Coronavirus Resource Page The UHC website has a dedicated tab for COVID-19 information including: COVID-19 Info for Humans and Horses; Safety Net Programs for Owners; Biosecurity and Disinfecting Protocols; Financial Relief Options; and Planning for Horse Care. In addition, there is a State Specific Resources Page that includes: 1) Unemployment Information and 2) State Specific COVID-19 Information for each individual state. https://unitedhorsecoalition.org/covid-19-resources/#toggle-id-56 https://www.npr.org/2020/03/26/821457551/whats-inside-the-senate-s-2-trillion-coronavirus-aid-package   Federal Government Information National Public Radio’s (NPR) summary of federal legislation (media) – https://www.npr.org/2020/03/26/821457551/whats-inside-the-senate-s-2-trillion-coronavirus-aid-package Text of Senate Bill – S3548 – https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/senate-bill/3548/text (hundreds of pages)   Summary of the 3 Phases of COVID-19 Legislation (Prepared by USTA Lobbyists – The Ingram Group) Congressional leaders reached a deal to pass a nearly $2 trillion “stimulus” package. This legislation represents “Phase 3” of the legislative response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Below, is an outline all three pieces of legislation starting with the most recent, being Phase 3. Many of these provisions may be of interest to you or your individual affiliate members which are small businesses. There is already talk of a “Phase 4” bill but it is likely several weeks away. It is highly recommended that you should check with your accounting professional for tax provisions. The “Phase 3”- The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES”) Phase 3, the CARES Act, will inject approximately $2T into the economy, providing tax rebates, expanded unemployment benefits, and a slew of business tax-relief provisions aimed at providing direct relief for individuals, families, and businesses. Title 1: Small business interruption loans Provides 8 weeks of 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency. If employers maintain their payrolls, the portion of the loan used to cover payroll costs, mortgage interest, rent, and utilities would be forgiven. To qualify businesses must employee 500 people or fewer or meet the applicable Small Business Administration (SBA) size standard for the industry. Also, most self-employed individuals and nonprofits qualify. The loan is capped at the lower of 250% of the employer’s average monthly payroll or $10 million. The link is https://www.sba.gov/funding-programs/disaster-assistance. Authorizes $25 million for SBA to provide grants to associations representing resource partners to establish an online platform that consolidates resources across multiple Federal agencies and a training program to educate small business counselors on those resources to ensure counselors are directing small businesses appropriately. Expands eligibility for entities suffering economic harm due to COVID-19 to access SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), while also giving SBA more flexibility to process and disperse small dollar loans. The bill would allow businesses that apply for an EIDL expedited access to capital through an Emergency Grant—an advance of $10,000 within three days to maintain payroll, provide paid sick leave, and to service other debt obligations. Title 2: Unemployment Insurance Provisions: The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) released a Fact Sheet for employers as well as a model notice employers may use to notify employees about these laws. The DOL is expected to issue regulations in April 2020. Individual Provisions:    Recovery Checks: $1,200 to individual Americans making less than $75,000 annually, and $2,400 for eligible married couples making less than $150,000 combined, with an additional $500 for every child. The amount would be reduced by $5 for every $100 that a person earns over $75,000, so Americans earning more than $99,000 will get nothing. Income levels, marital status, and number of children would be based on 2019 tax returns, if filed, or their 2018 return as an alternative.      Special rules for use of retirement funds: Allows the withdrawal of $100,000 from retirement accounts to pay for coronavirus-related purposes without the 10% early withdrawal penalty.    Tax Filing Deadline Delay/ Extension: The April 15 deadline for filing federal income tax returns and making payments is extended to July 15, 2020.    Charitable contributions: Corporations may deduct up to 25% of taxable income for charitable contributions in 2020, and there is no cap on individuals.    Student Loans: President Trump has suspended federally-held student loan payments for 60 days with no penalty. Employers can provide student loan repayment benefits to employees on a tax-free basis, up to $5,250. Business Provisions: Employee retention credit for employers: Employers subject to closure or partially suspended operations can qualify for a refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of wages paid   to employees from March 13, 2020 through December 31, 2020. To qualify, a business must have been partially or fully suspended due to a local COVID-19 shut-down order or have had gross receipts decline by more than 50% from the same quarter last year. The credit is capped at $10,000 per employee, including health benefits. For employers with fewer than 100 employees, all employees count toward the credit, but for employers with more than 100 employees, only those not working because of the COVID-19 crisis count. Delay of payment of employer payroll taxes: Payroll taxes may be deferred with half due by December 31, 2021 and the other half due by December 31, 2022. Modifications for net operating losses (NOLs): NOLs for the last three years can be carried back five years on amended prior years’ tax returns. Pass-through entities may also take advantage of this provision. Modification of limitation on business interest: Changes the amount businesses are allowed to deduct on their tax returns from 30% to 50% for 2019 and 2020. Qualified improvement property: Allows businesses, especially in the hospitality industry, to immediately write off the cost of improving a facility instead of having to depreciate it over the 39-year life of the building. “Phase 2”- H.R. 6201, The Families First Coronavirus Response Act Among its many provisions, this $104 billion bill guarantees free coronavirus testing, provides emergency paid leave, and strengthens food security initiatives across a broad range of additional investments, including ensuring that children who depend on free and reduced-priced meals have access to food during school and childcare closures. H.R. 6201 also provides businesses with tax credits for qualified sick and family leave wages paid to employees.   Paid Sick Leave Emergency paid leave requires employers with fewer than 500 employees to give 14 days off (two weeks) at the employee’s regular pay if employee gets COVID-19, is subject to a federal, state, or local quarantine related to COVID-19, or has been advised by a healthcare provider to self-quarantine to due COVID-19 concerns. The amount of paid sick leave per employee is limited to $511 per day and $5,110 total. The Act also requires employers to provide employees with 14 days off at two-thirds the employee’s regular pay to care for someone in quarantine or care for a child whose school is closed because of coronavirus precautions. Paid Family Leave Employees qualify for paid family leave if they are unable to work due to a need to care for a child whose school or place of care has closed because of a “public health emergency.” The first ten days of family leave may be unpaid, but after the first ten days, employers must provide employees with no less than two-thirds of an individual’s average monthly earnings for at least 30 days with 12 weeks of job-protected leave. Exemptions and Tax Credits There are exemptions for employers of 50 or fewer. Employers are entitled to a refundable tax credit equal to 100% of qualified sick leave wages paid each calendar quarter to cover the costs. H.R. 6201 also provides for refundable tax credits against the self-employment tax. “Phase 1”- H.R.6074, the Coronavirus Supplemental This first bill provided the initial $8.3 billion in emergency funding for federal agencies to respond to the coronavirus outbreak.  H.R. 6074 was signed by POTUS and became law on March 6, 2020. A title-by-title summary is available here, and bill text here. —————————————————————————————————————————————- Internal Revenue Service – Treasury, IRS and Labor announced a plan to implement Coronavirus-related paid leave for workers and tax credits for small and midsize businesses to swiftly recover the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave . https://content.govdelivery.com/accounts/USIRS/bulletins/2826044?reqfrom=share U.S. Small Business Administration – Economic Injury Disaster Loans – https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Account/Register1 The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has made Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EID Loan) available for qualifying businesses that have suffered economic injury as a result of the epidemic.  Funds from an EID loan may be used by small businesses to pay fixed debts , payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The terms of an EID loan are determined by the SBA on a case-by-case basis. FCC – Keep America Connected – Phone and Internet Services Keep Americans Connected Pledge – https://www.fcc.gov/keep-americans-connected In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FCC has announced the Keep Americans Connected Initiative to ensure that Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity. So far, more than 550 companies and associations have signed the pledge to Keep Americans Connected.  See the list on their website. The pledge: Not to terminate service to any residential or small business customers because of their inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic’ Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances pandemic; Open its Wi-Fi hotspots to any American who needs them.   State Government Information (alphabetical by state) State – Small Business Information and Websites: Delaware – https://business.delaware.gov/coronavirus/ Indiana – https://www.nfib.com/indiana/ Florida – https://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/florida-offers-loans-to-small-business-to-offset-coronavirus-impacts/2210126/ (media).  www.FloridaDisaster.BIZ – Application period ends May 8. Maryland – https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2020/03/19/coronavirus-small-business-financial-help-latest/ (media) with link to federal SBA website. Minnesota – https://www.twincities.com/2020/03/23/coronavirus-immediate-relief-available-for-small-businesses-in-minnesota/ New Jersey – https://www.njeda.com/about/Public-Information/Coronavirus-Information New York – https://esd.ny.gov/small-business-loan-resources Ohio – https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/home/resources-for-economic-support Pennsylvania – https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/   Rent Eviction and Utility Shutoff Information by State and Municipalities A detailed list of state and municipal, as well as federal, information on moratoriums on rent evictions and utility shutoffs. https://evictionlab.org/covid-eviction-policies/   Horsemen’s Association Information (alphabetical by state) California – California Harness Horsemen’s Association   Delaware – Delaware SOA – www.dsoaonline.com The Delaware Standardbred Owners Association, who serves Delaware horsemen and women, will utilize their website (link above), Facebook page (Delaware Standardbred Owners Association) and weekly television/internet show “Post Time” with host Heather Vitale to communicate with members.  Post Time airs on WBOC-TV on Sunday mornings at 11:30 a.m. EST.  Show archives can be found on PostTimeShow YouTube channel.   Florida – Florida SBOA Iowa – Iowa Harness Horse Association   Illinois – Illinois Harness Horsemen’s Association   Indiana – Indiana Standardbred Association   Kentucky – Kentucky Harness Horsemen’s Association   Maine – Maine Harness Horsemen’s Association   Massachusetts – SOA of Massachusetts   Michigan – Michigan Harness Horsemen’s Association   New Jersey – SBOA of New Jersey SBOA of NJ – Employee Acquisition Assistance If you are in a position where you are shorthanded and need help during this critical time, the SBOANJ would like to help you. Please contact us at info@sboanj.com or call 732-462-2357 to let us know what type of employees you are in search of. We will gladly post positions needed on our website with any contact information you would like to give and help you get the word out.   New York –        HHA of Central New York          Saratoga Harness Horsemen’s Association   SOA of New York   Western New York HHA —————————————————————————————————————————————- Ohio – Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association OHHA Update – 3/27/20 OHHA Specific Relief: O.H.H.H.I.T. Health Plan Credits: The Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association and Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Health Insurance  (O.H.H.H.I.T.) Trustees as administrators of the Harness Horsemen’s Health Insurance Trust would like to announce financial relief for all Harness Horsemen’s Health Insurance Plan Participants. As-of the date of the first Order cancelling racing (March 20, 2020), each Self-Pay Plan Participant will automatically receive a credit for two months of health insurance plan premiums at their existing coverage level.  For example, if a horseman has paid their April premium costs for family coverage, they will receive a credit for their May and June family coverage premiums.  If the April family coverage premium has not been paid, the credit will apply to family coverage for their April and May premium costs.  There is no need to do anything to receive the credit.  It will automatically be applied to all self-pay coverage classes.  Note that if there are changes in coverage to a higher level of coverage (i.e., single to family coverage) during the credit time-period, the credit for the lower level of coverage will apply and the difference between the higher and lower premium cost will have to be paid. In addition, during this time, existing Breeding Farm Employees and Racetrack Grooms that are employed and active in the Plan, will continue to receive their premium costs covered.  Separation for or from any covered employer will be handled as-per the Plan’s rules.  The Ohio Harness Horsemen’s Association will provide updates regarding financial relief initiatives as they take place via www.ohha.com and social media outlets.  For immediate updates, please subscribe to the OHHA Emergency and Informational Text Blast system by texting “OHHA” to 1-888-808-1507. Government Updates: Ohio General Assembly Update • The next Senate session is scheduled for March 25 at 1:30 PM • The House has scheduled sessions for March 24, 25, 26, 31 and April 1 and 2 all at 1:00 PM • Legislation is not expected to go through the usual committee process, but rather it will be handled procedurally through the Rules committee. • UPDATE 3.25.20 the Ohio Senate and House voted to pass HB 197 with an emergency amendment to address coronavirus concerns. The summary of the amendment can be found at, https://www.legislature.ohio.gov/legislation/legislation-status?id=GA133-HB-197 As Passed Ohio H.B. 197 Overview COVID-19 Relief: 1. K-12 Education · Testing & Accountability – The bill eliminates state-mandated K-12 student assessments for the 2019-20 school year. It eliminates Ohio’s school district and school building report cards for the 2019-20 school year, prohibits ODE from assigning letter grades to buildings or districts, prohibits rankings based on report card data and creates “safe harbor” for schools and districts to ensure data from the 2019-20 school year will have no effect in determining sanctions or penalties. The proposal directs ODE to seek a waiver from federal testing requirements. · Jon Peterson Special Needs/Autism Scholarships – Allows for services to be provided to students by electronic delivery method or telehealth. This change is necessary for services to continue while schools are closed. · EdChoice Scholarship – The bill freezes the 2019-20 performance-based EdChoice building eligibility list at 517 buildings for the 2020-21 school year. The language allows siblings of current voucher students to participate. Under continuing law, the EdChoice application portal will open for 60 days beginning April 1, 2020, to process income-based EdChoice vouchers, renewals of existing performance-based vouchers, and new students attending the 517 buildings already on the list. The bill expressly prohibits expansion of the building list to 1,227 buildings. · Student Meals – For school districts that are providing meals to students who are home while schools are closed, this language gives the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture the authority to provide an exemption from “food processing” requirements so those entities can focus on providing food to children that depend on these services. · Distance Learning – For the 2019-20 school year, permits districts and schools to make up through distance learning any number of days or hours necessary due to COVID-19-related closures. They may amend an existing plan or adopt one to make up those days or hours. Current law limits make up through distance learning to not more than three days. · Teacher Evaluations and Licenses – For current teachers, the bill provides flexibility for teacher evaluations that were due to be completed during the 2019- 20 school year and removes the value-added component from the evaluation. For new teachers unable to take the final licensure test due to testing center closures, the bill provides them with a provisional teaching license for the 2020-21 school year if they have graduated from college, and have successfully completed student teaching and a background check. 2.  2020 Primary Election – The primary election in-person voting was cancelled due to the public health crisis. Ohioans that were eligible to vote on March 17, 2020, will be able to cast their ballot by mail on or before April 28, 2020. Those Ohioans that cast their ballot early will have their vote count. The Ohio Secretary of State will mail all voters a postcard informing them on how they will be able to request their ballot by mail from their local county Board of Elections. The board will send them their ballot and a postage paid return envelope. 3. Tax Year 2019 & 2020 Changes · Ohio’s tax filing deadline will be the same as the federal filing deadline, July 15 · The legislation incorporates into Ohio law recent changes to the Internal Revenue Code or other federal law taking effect after March 30, 2018. The language also assures continued compliance with the streamlined sales tax compact in respect to sales of prescription incontinence products for Medicaid recipients. · Other changes include Work From Home-related issues. As more of the workforce begins to Work from Home, questions have arisen regarding which municipal corporations may tax an employee’s income. This addresses concerns of businesses regarding the “20-day rule” in municipal income tax by not requiring employers to withhold for employees’ home municipalities for the duration of an employee working remotely, but rather to continue to withhold for the employee’s traditional workplace. Also, without this change, once an employee has worked in a municipality for more than 20 days, that municipality may start taxing part of the employer’s own income. 4. Rainy Day Fund – Permits the DeWine administration, prior to the end of the fiscal year (June 30), to seek State Controlling Board approval to transfer funds from the state’s Budget Stabilization Fund to the state’s General Revenue Fund, if necessary, in order to end the fiscal year with a balanced budget. Approval for this transfer would be needed from at least two Controlling Board members from the House and two from the Senate in order for the request to be approved. Currently, there is $2.7 billion in the Rainy Day Fund. 5. Local Governments · Open Meetings – Grants members of a public body permissive authority to hold, attend and take public actions in public meetings by video conference, teleconference and any other available electronic means, provided certain requirements are met. The public body would be required to provide public access to a meeting held in this manner and ensure the public can observe and hear the discussions and deliberations. The public body would still have to provide proper meeting notice and have a quorum. Under the proposal, a “public body” has the same meaning as defined in ORC 121.22 and includes counties, townships, municipalities at the local level, as well as boards, commissions and other state- level entities. · Clean Water – Access to clean water in homes is critical when dealing with the COVID-19 emergency. This language would provide the Director of Ohio Environmental Protection Agency authority to direct public water systems to not disconnect, and to restore service to homes that have had their water shut off for nonpayment. Many of the utilities have voluntarily taken this step, and the PUCO has ordered public utilities to do so. · Auditor of State – Requested by the Auditor of State, this language allows the Auditor of State to waive certain criteria on a case-by-case basis to conduct an agreed-upon procedure audit of eligible subdivisions. · Access to County Offices – The bill generally requires the offices of a county recorder, county auditor and the title office of a clerk of court of common pleas, and a county map office, to remain open to land professionals and automobile, watercraft, all-terrain and mobile home dealers for property searches and title processing. · Local Vacancies – Provides a county central committee of political party additional forty-five days to fill vacancy from the date the vacancy was required to be filled during the period of the emergency declared by Executive Order 2020- 01D, issued March 9, 2020. Federal Information • Final CARES Act $2 Trillion Relief Coronavirus package  https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/6819239-FINAL-FINAL-CARES-ACT.html on3-25-20 by a 96-0 vote.  House vote Hospitals and Healthcare • $150 billion for the healthcare system • Includes funding for hospitals, treatment, and the Strategic National Stockpile to raise supplies of ventilators, masks, and other needed equipment • $100 billion will go to hospitals and the health system • $1 billion will go to the Indian Health Service Stimulus Checks • $250 billion for one direct payment to individuals and families • Payments are expected to go out within 3 weeks • Those earning $75,000 or less will receive a $1,200 check • Married couples earning $150,000 or less will receive a check for $2,400 • Additional $500 check per child aged 16 or under • Payment scales down for individuals earning above $75,000 • No payment for individuals making over $99,000 and couples with no children earning $198,000 Business Loans • Existing Small Business Administration (SBA) Loans: Provides $17 billion for the SBA to cover the next six months of loan payments due on existing SBA 7(a) loans, Certified Development Company loans, and microloans. • SBA Disaster Loans: Provides $10 billion for the SBA to provide economic injury disaster loans to small businesses until December 31, 2020. While casinos and any gaming or racing business that derives more than a third of their annual gross income from gambling and racing are not normally eligible for such loans, the OHHA is working to clarify the applicability of the CARES Act to horsemen. • SBA Interruption Loans: Provides $349 billion for the SBA to provide “interruption loans” to small businesses, self-employed individuals, 501(c)(3) organizations, and veterans organizations, provided they have less than 500 employees or they meet SBA small business size standards (whichever is greater), with broadened eligibility for some franchises and businesses that provide food and accommodation services. • SBA Express Loans: Temporarily increases the maximum loan amount for an SBA Express loan from $350,000 to $1 million. • $150 billion for state and local governments to respond to coronavirus.  Stops President Trump, top government officials, and members of Congress and their families from getting loans or investments from the Treasury stimulus programs. • Treasury stimulus programs include a special loan facility to enable banks and other lenders to extend low interest loans to eligible mid-sized US Businesses, states, tribes, and local governments suffering from the impact.  Interest expenses on the loans is tax deductible. • Businesses that eliminate more than 10% of their workforce are not eligible for aid under the Bill until September 2020. Employers must retain or rehire at least 90% of workers and restore compensation and benefits. • $454 billion to provide loans to distressed companies, loan guarantees, and other Federal Reserve Lending programs to support businesses.  Gaming businesses are eligible or relief under this program as long as they are not receiving other economic relief • $50 billion of that will go to passenger airlines • Trump administration agreed to an oversight board and inspector general position to review how the money is spent • Republicans failed in attempt to cap unemployment at 100% of a workers wages that they received while previously employed Tourism Grants for Economic Revitalization •  Community Development Block Grants: Provides $5 billion in grants to states and local governments to mitigate economic disruptions in impacted industries, including making direct grants to tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19. •  Economic Development Agency Grants: Provides $1.5 billion to state and local governments for economic injuries to impacted industries, including grants to support economic revitalization of tourism businesses impacted by COVID-19. • Student Loans • All student loans, borrowed within the last 10 years and held by the federal government, will undergo an automatic payment suspension until September 30, 2020 • Individuals can choose to keep paying • Interest will not accrue during this period • Wage garnishment due to lack of payment will be suspended • Payment count will still continue to go up by one each month Tax Provisions / IRS  Temporary Universal charitable tax deduction. A temporary universal charitable tax deduction for donations of up to $300 to both itemizers and nonitemizers. (Lankford language to increase the cap was not agreed to. • Temporary suspension of charitable contribution limits. The charitable tax deduction claimed by a taxpayer each tax year is generally limited to no more than 50% of the taxpayer’s adjusted gross income (AGI), unless a taxpayer gives only cash, in which case the limit increases to 60% of AGI. The bill will temporarily suspend these limitations on the charitable tax deduction per taxpayer in 2020. • Carryback of net operating losses.  Carryback losses from 2018, 2019, and 2020 to offset 100 percent of taxable income in the last five years, generating funds for gaming businesses. • Deferral of Social Security Taxes: Gaming employers may defer their share of Social Security tax payments on employee wages otherwise due for the remainder of 2020. This allows half to be paid by December 31, 2021 and the other half by the end of 2022. • Increase on Business Interest Deduction: For 2019 and 2020 tax years, gaming businesses can deduct interest expense up to 50 percent of their adjusted taxable income (EBITDA: earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization), up from 30 percent of such income previously. • Qualified Improvement Property Fix: Gaming businesses will be able to immediately write-off building improvement • Refundable Credits for Prior Year Corporate Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT): Accelerates the ability for corporations to recover AMT credits, allowing a refund claim now to obtain additional cash flow. Extending Benefits: Provides enhancements to existing state unemployment insurance programs, including: • Allowing furloughed workers to receive unemployment insurance benefits • Waiving the seven-day waiting period for regular unemployment insurance • Extending the duration of unemployment insurance benefits • Promoting short-time compensation benefits for workers forced to cut hours • The U.S. and Canada have decided to suspend all non-essential travel during the two countries during the pandemic, while ensuring that trade between the countries is not disrupted.  https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/18/canada-us-plan-to-close-border-to-non-essential-travel-135373 Columbus Information Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the City of Columbus is suspending all in person bill payment and permitting services for the Department of Public Utilities, Building and Zoning Services, Recreation and Parks, and Department of Public Service at the 111 Front Street Coleman Government Center and Jerry Hammond Building at 1111 East Broad Street until further notice. Department of Public Utilities payment options: • Use drop boxes at 111 Front Street or in front of the Public Utilities Complex along Twin Rivers Drive (910 Dublin Road) • On line portal:   https://schedulepayment.com/Columbus • Payment by phone or billing questions can be directed to the Customer Service Center 7 am – 3 pm:  614-645-8276 • Western Union locations in Kroger stores:  https://www.westernunion.com/us/en/pay-bills.html Additional information can be found via the resources below: • Daily press conferences at 2:00 PM: http://www.ohiochannel.org/live/governor-mike-dewine • Dept. of Health coronavirus updates: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/ • Secretary of State’s updates on voting/press releases: https://www.ohiosos.gov/coronafacts/ • Request Absentee Ballots:  https://www.ohiosos.gov/elections/voters/absentee-ballot/#gref • Mental Health coronavirus-related resources: https://mha.ohio.gov/Health-Professionals/About-Mental-Health-and-Addiction-Treatment/Emergency-Preparedness/Coronavirus • Ohio Department of Education Information for School and Districts: http://education.ohio.gov/Topics/Student-Supports/Coronavirus • Workforce Development: https://workforce.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/workforce/ • Child Care Information for Providers: http://jfs.ohio.gov/cdc/CoronavirusAndChildcare/ • Ohio Department of Insurance Bulletins: https://insurance.ohio.gov/wps/portal/ gov/odi/about-us/bulletins/ • Supplemental guidance on screening for employees and employers: https://associationdatabase.com/aws/OLA/asset_manager/get_file/433958?ver=1. • City of Columbus Coronavirus Resources: https://www.columbus.gov/covid19resources/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=govdelivery • Health Policy Institute of Ohio Coronavirus Guide: https://www.healthpolicyohio.org/coronavirus-covid-19-in-ohio/ • Phone: For any questions you have about COVID-19, please call 1 (833) 4- ASK-ODH from the hours of 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. • If you want to volunteer to help-mail:  together@governor.ohio.gov with your name, contact information, and how you can help. • THE FOLLOWING ORDERS HAVE BEEN ISSUED IN RESPONSE TO THE CORONA VIRUS, EITHER BY GOVERNOR DEWINE, OR BY THE OHIO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH: • Executive and Public Health Orders: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/ gov/covid-19/home/public-health-orders/public-health-orders • 03/19/20 Executive Order 2020-05D Telehealth • 03/17/20 Executive Order 2020-04D Temporary Pandemic Child Care • 03/17/20 Executive Order 2020-03D Unemployment • 03/14/20 Executive Order 2020-02D Emergency Amendment Rule • 03/14/20 Executive Order 2020-01D Declaring a State of Emergency • 03/25/20 Director’s Order to Close Facilities Providing Child Care Services • 03/22/20 Director’s Order to Stay at Home • 03/21/20 Order to Certain Entertainment Venues • 03/21/20 Order to Prohibit Adult Day Support or Vocational Habilitation Services in a Congregate Setting • 03/21/20 Order to Close Facilities Providing Older Adult Day Care Services and Senior Centers • 03/20/20 Order to Cease Business Operation at Hair Salons, Day Spas, Nail Salons, (More) • 03/17/20 Order non-essential surgery • 03/17/20 Order to Close Polling locations • 03/17/20 Order to Limit and/or Prohibit Mass Gatherings in the State of Ohio (Amended) • 03/17/20 ODH Director’s Order Closure of the Polling Locations • 03/16/20 Director’s Journal Entry on Updated COVID-19 Reporting Requirements • 03/15/20 Health Director Order Limit Food, Alcohol Sales to Carry Out Delivery Only • 03/15/20 Health Director Order Limit Access Jails and Detention Facilities • 03/14/20 Order the Closure of All K-12 School in the State of Ohio • 03/14/20 Health Screening for Admission to State Operated Psychiatric Hospitals or to DYS Facilities • 03/14/20 Order to Limit and/or Prohibit Mass Gatherings in the State of Ohio • 03/17/20 Order to Limit Access to Ohio’s Nursing Homes and Similar Facilities (Amended) • 03/14/20 Order to Limit Access to Ohio’s Nursing Homes and Similar Facilities Resources for Businesses and Workers: ENHANCED UNEMPLOYMENT AID FOR OHIOANS: • The Governor will issue an executive order, which will grant the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) with the authority to accept and grant requests for unemployment compensation suspending the normal 1-week waiting period. • This order will also give relief to applicants who are not offered paid leave through their job, as well as those who have been quarantined by a medical professional, their employer, or whose employers must temporarily close. Those who apply for unemployment under these circumstances will be exempt from the requirement that they be actively seeking work. Learn more at Unemployment.Ohio.gov or JFS.Ohio.gov/Coronavirus. ONE-TIME LIQUOR BUYBACK: • The Ohio Department of Commerce will immediately begin offering a one-time liquor buyback option to support bars and restaurants. This will especially aid those establishments that have stocked up on high-proof liquor ahead of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday for which they now have no use, due to their closure to in-house patrons. • Bars and restaurants wishing to take advantage of this opportunity should return their unopened, high- proof liquor products (obtained within the past 30 days) to the agency where they purchased the product. This opportunity is also extended to those with temporary (F2) permits for events scheduled between March 12 and April 6, 2020. If a business has questions about this program, they should reach out directly to the Liquor Enterprise Service Center (LESC) at 1(877)812-0013 or by emailing OhioLiquorInfo@Com.Ohio.gov. SUPPORT FOR SMALL BUSINESSES & NON-PROFIT ORGANIZATIONS: • The Ohio Development Services Agency submitted an application to qualify Ohio for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. Ohio’s request for small businesses to receive economic disaster relief loans has been approved.  This program provides low-interest loans up to $2 million in order to help businesses overcome the temporary loss of revenue during the state of emergency. • Non-profit organizations in Ohio will also be eligible for low-interest loans through the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. • To complete the state’s application, businesses impacted by the current public health crisis should immediately send their contact information to BusinessHelp@Development.Ohio.gov. Additional information on the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program is available at SBA.gov/Disaster. BUREAU OF WORKERS COMPENSATION: · The Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) is announcing that insurance premium installment payments due for March, April and May for the current policy year may be deferred until June 1, 2020. At that time the matter will be reconsidered. Additionally, BWC will not cancel coverage or assess penalties for amounts not paid because of COVID-19. For more information, attached is a FAQ sheet or you can visit www.BWC.Ohio.Gov Pennsylvania        Meadows Standardbred Owners Association Meadows Standardbred Owners Association Update –   03/27/2020 PA General Assembly: • The Senate session is scheduled for April 6, 7 and 8 at 11:00 AM • The House has scheduled session for April 6 at 1:00 PM Federal Information: • Senate passed coronavirus package and if passed in the House on Friday, March 27, Treasury is proposing emergency funds to be direct deposited by April 6 or checks to be received within 3 weeks: $1,200 Individual (income under $100,000) $2,400 Couples $   500 per child under age 17 (Minimum payments of $600 for those with no federal tax liability, and aid would be phased down at adjusted gross income thresholds)   https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/25/whats-in-stimulus-package-coronavirus-149282 • Canada-U.S. border to closed to nonessential travel on Friday night https://www.politico.com/news/2020/03/19/canada-us-border-closing-coronavirus-137433 Additional Information: • PA Dep’t. of Health coronavirus updates: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx • Phone: for any questions you have about coronavirus: call 1-877-724-3258 • LIVE daily briefings from the PA Department of Health:  www.governor.pa.gov/live/ or watch on Facebook •  Governor Wolf is expected to sign a measure postponing the state’s presidential primary from April 28 to June 2. For Businesses and Workers: • Governor Wolf: Economic Injury Disaster Loans available to Small Businesses facing losses related to Coronavirus  https://www.governor.pa.gov/newsroom/gov-wolf-economic-injury-disaster-loans-available-to-small-businesses-and-non-profits-facing-losses-related-to-covid-19/ • Unemployment Compensation for Pennsylvanians –   www.uc.pa.gov/pages/covid19.aspx          Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association – Pennsylvania Harness Horsemen’s Association Update – (03-26-20) Pennsylvania COVID-19 Resources Pennsylvania Department of Health COVID-19 Dedicated Website: https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx PA COVID-19 Daily Report:   https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/Documents/Diseases%20and%20Conditions/COVID-19%20Situation%20Reports/20200324nCoVSituationReportExt.pdf PA COVID-19 Daily Press Conference Stream (3:00 p.m. EST):   https://pacast.com/live/doh or https://www.governor.pa.gov/live/ PA Case Map:   https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/#CasesinPennsylvania PA Stay At Home Order:   https://www.pa.gov/guides/responding-to-covid-19/?fbclid=iwar22jtpidu7weyoljqvlamjvtxygc76bnouq3mdkpfbjs5nvc6ff2pufnjg#StayatHomeOrder PA Information for Travelers:   https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/Travelers.aspx PA COVID-19 FAQs:   https://www.health.pa.gov/topics/disease/coronavirus/Pages/FAQs.aspx Questions about COVID-19 in Pennsylvania? 1-877-PA-HEALTH (1-877-724-3258) PA Department of Labor & Industry:   https://www.uc.pa.gov/COVID-19/Pages/default.aspx PA Department of Revenue:   https://www.revenue.pa.gov/Pages/AlertDetails.aspx PENNDOT:   https://www.penndot.gov/pages/coronavirus.aspx PA Department of Drug & Alcohol Programs:   https://www.ddap.pa.gov/Get%20Help%20Now/Pages/Coronavirus.aspx PA Department of Community and Economic Development:   https://dced.pa.gov/resources/ PA Department of Banking and Securities:   https://www.dobs.pa.gov/Businesses/COVID-19%20Information%20and%20Guidance/Pages/default.aspx CDC COVID-19 Testing Guidelines & Symptom Self-Checker:   https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/testing.html PHHA Partner Tracks The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono Updates:   https://mohegansunpocono.com/updates.html Harrah’s Philadelphia Updates:    https://www.caesars.com/corporate/coronavirus-guest-information Luzerne County (Pocono):   https://www.luzernecounty.org/1263/Luzerne-County-COVID-19-Response Delaware County (Harrah’s):   https://www.delcopa.gov/ich/resources/coronavirus.html PHHA Health Coverage Information – 3/24/20 The PHHA has transitioned to working remotely but are still available for assistance by calling the PHHA office at 610.874.5200.  Moving forward, the PHHA will not be billing any of its members for their April health premium. If a member has paid ahead, those monies will remain on their account as a credit. Additionally, the PHHA is encouraging all members to take advantage of MDLIVE, a free service through Independence Blue Cross in which a doctor can be accessed remotely.  https://www.mdlive.com/   Virginia – Virginia Harness Horsemen’s Association   Wisconsin – Wisconsin Harness Horsemen’s Association Ken Weingartner Media Relations Manager U.S. Trotting Association

Abortions in horses continues to be a very frustrating problem for breeders and veterinarians. So much time and effort is put into producing quality horses and it is heartbreaking when it does not work out; even more so when you don’t know why. “About 40% of abortions in horses that are submitted to the lab come back with no diagnosis, and an unknown cause; this means we are missing a significant number of potentially infectious and potentially preventable abortions in horses” shares Dr. Tracey Chenier at the Ontario Veterinary College (OVC).   Dr. Chenier has been a researcher in equine reproduction at the OVC for almost 18 years, investigating equine infertility, reproductive efficiency, and embryo freezing. Her next project will investigate the exposure rate or the seroprevalence of a parasite, Neospora caninum, and its potential link to equine abortions.   Neospora caninum is the single most important cause of abortions in cattle in Ontario and has a significant impact across North America. Previous studies have looked at the seroprevalence of this parasite in Europe and the United States but no studies have been conducted in Canada. Recently, this parasite was found in an aborted equine fetus in Israel. This discovery sparked the interest of researchers in Israel who then reached out to Dr. Chenier to conduct a collaborative study. This amazing team of researchers includes Dr. David Pearl and Dr. Robert Foster from the OVC who have special expertise in disease surveillance and Neospora caninum in cattle, as well as Dr. Amir Steinman and his lab in Israel who are very familiar with the detection of this parasite.   This collaborative study will be the first of its kind in horses in Canada, and will be focusing on Ontario broodmares. Research begins this September taking place over the course of three years thanks to industry partners and OMAFRA. “It’s not possible without both industry funding and industry involvement,” says Dr. Chenier. The first step is to collect blood samples from broodmares on randomly selected breeding farms across Ontario. The owners will be involved in a comprehensive survey, so researchers can have a full understanding of the horses’ history, farm management practices, and risk factors like dogs and coyotes on or near the farm (known to increase risk levels in cattle). Next, the researchers will be looking at aborted fetuses for the presence of the Neospora caninum parasite.   This study will provide insight on the unknowns surrounding the seroprevalence of the Neospora caninum parasite in Ontario broodmares, risk factors for exposure, and if it plays a role in equine abortions. It’s important to address these unknowns in order to take precautions and work towards minimizing unknown diagnoses.   Planning on breeding your mare? Dr. Chenier has great tips and videos in Equine Guelph's Mare & Foal Care Tool sponsored by PFERA to make sure you are prepared!   https://www.equineguelph.ca/Tools/Mare-&-Foal-Care.php   Equine Guelph is the horse owners' and care givers' Centre at the University of Guelph in Canada. It is a unique partnership dedicated to the health and well-being of horses, supported and overseen by equine industry groups. Equine Guelph is the epicentre for academia, industry and government - for the good of the equine industry as a whole. For further information, visit www.equineguelph.ca.   Story by: Melissa McGilloway

In response to questions received from the industry, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) wishes to clarify that routine diagnostic veterinary examinations of race horses are allowed within the 24-hour period prior to racing provided no medications, drugs or substances are administered. Info Bulletin No. 70 – Ban on Race Day Medication: Introduction of a Standards-Based Rule March 29, 2019 The Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) is implementing a ban on race day medications as of April 19, 2019 that will prohibit the administration of medications, drugs and substances to any horse entered to race starting 24 hours prior to the post time of the first race of the day they are scheduled to race.  For Standardbred horses, this includes Qualifying Races. This standards-based rule is critical to protecting horses, participants, the betting public and the integrity of racing as a whole. The rule changes, which include prohibiting contact between horses entered to race and veterinarians in the 24 hours prior to racing, except in cases of emergency, can be found in the Directives: Standardbred | Thoroughbred POLICY STATEMENT It is in the best interest of the horse, the human participants, the betting public and the public at large that horses race free of medications (other than Furosemide when properly enrolled in the Ontario Exercise Induced Pulmonary Hemorrhage (E.I.P.H.) Program). THE ISSUE Medications administered within 24 hours of a race have resulted in adverse health outcomes of race horses.  Medications administered on race day have the potential to mask physical or behavioural problems in a horse and/or to alter the performance of a horse. These administrations can pose a risk to the health of the horse and participants while warming up or racing. The betting public and the public at large are unaware of the specifics of these administrations.  This standards-based rule aligns Ontario more closely with other major racing jurisdictions in the United States, Europe, Asia and Australia.  For example, in the United States, 28 out of the 33 states with pari-mutuel betting have implemented a ban on race day medications.   IMPLICATIONS The new standards-based rule will enhance the health and safety of the horse, the safety of the participants during the warming up of the horse and in the actual running of the race. The standards-based rule defines the timeframe of the ban as being 24 hours prior to the post time of the first race of the day they are scheduled to race.  This rule is not intended to prohibit normal non-medicated feedstuffs, water and non-medicated shampoos and non-medicated topical applications.  IMPLEMENTATION The AGCO will implement the standards-based rule through the following communications with the horse racing industry:    An educational component, consisting of Industry Notice Reminders and Information Bulletins; Paddock meetings; and/or Training sessions for trainers and grooms at each track, led by AGCO Race Officials and Commission Veterinarians. Race Line newsletter articles Twitter posts Website updates For more information, on-duty Race Officials may be contacted at: https://www.agco.ca/race-day-contact-list Questions about this process may be directed to AGCO Race Officials. CONTACT US Online: Anytime via the iAGCO online portal By mail and in person: Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario 90 Sheppard Avenue East Suite 200-300 Toronto, Ontario M2N 0A4 By telephone: Monday to Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (EST) General telephone: 416-326-8700 Toll free in Ontario: 1-800-522-2876  

Exercise-induced Pulmonary Hemorrage (EIPH) has been a recognized condition in horses since the early 18 century. While the amount of bleeding in horses varies, it is universally recognized that the vast majority of horses in training and racing do indeed bleed. The advent of the flexible endoscope confirmed in studies that in thoroughbreds the stress put upon them, proved that up to 75 per cent of them bleed in training and more so in racing. Other studies done on standardbred and thoroughbreds, after running three races, showed that 100 per cent of these horses bled at least once, evidenced by blood in the trachea. The cause of the bleeding is the amount of pressure experienced that racing puts on the pulmonary veins, four times the normal pressure. The pressure causes fibrosis and in turn Pulmonary fibrosis scars and thickens the tissue around and between the air sacs (alveoli) in the lungs, which decreases the lungs ability to function and decreases the racing life of the horse. I have attended multiple-day seminars with experts from all over the globe on the topic of the race day administration of Lasix. In North America, Lasix is the most popular medication for treating EIPH because studies have shown that it is the most effective treatment in decreasing the amount of bleeding and therefore the scarring and thickening of the tissue around the lungs. In many of the English speaking countries around the world conducting racing, where race day use of Lasix is prohibited, it is nonetheless permitted up to race day because it is acknowledged to have the desired therapeutic effects in controlling EIPH. One has to ask if it is recognized as necessary in training because of its control of this problem, when the stress is not as severe as when a horse competes in a race, then what is the rationale for withholding it on race day, where four times the normal pressure in the racing environment exists? It has been said that when our horses, mainly thoroughbreds, go overseas they compete quite well without Lasix. That is indeed true, perhaps because they have a least had the benefit of controlling pulmonary hemorrhage long enough to achieve success over their foreign competitors. Overseas competition is against horses that are using something far less efficacious than Lasix, or worse nothing at all, to address the long term effects occasioned by the increased stress in racing. Those who want to join the community of Lasix-free racing point to the alleged masking of other substances, but the controlled administration of the substance; the hourly limitation on its use pre-race( 4-4 1/2 hours); the testing for threshold overages of the substance, has put that argument to bed. Now the newest mantra for the elimination of race-day Lasix, is the horrible, horrible loss of life at Santa Anita Racetrack. The false claim being, that while the rest of North America continues to help the horse racing on Lasix, without nay correlation to catastrophes, Lasix is being inexplicably blamed as the proximate cause of those catastrophes. The problem, is the potential for the elimination of a recognized effective tool in controlling and minimizing, EIPH that helps the horse cope with the effects of stress. Santa Anita should be shut down immediately until the true causes of these catastrophes can be accurately determined and corrected. The factors point initially to the track’s surface and under-footing, but the more precise answer must be determined by analyzing all of the multiple possible factors, Lasix, being clearly not the culprit. Without closing down Santa Anita immediately, the industry, thoroughbred and standardbred alike, comes under tremendous pressure from all those looking to eliminate the industry anyway. Santa Anita is providing fuel to a fire that threatens the game, by racing more in the face of its undetermined cause of these catastrophic breakdowns. Allowing continued suffering at Santa Anita is intolerable and unacceptable and should not continue. Enough is enough and if one is looking to blame Lasix, it is suggested that one look elsewhere. Every industry organization needs to be heard on any and every false narrative out there. No benefit can be achieved by being silent on issues that threaten our existence. Joe Faraldo

Warrior Inside started life as a winner. A Kentucky thoroughbred, the chestnut brown bay gelding racehorse trained at Churchill Downs in Louisville. In his debut last March in New Orleans, he placed second in a field of 63. But his fourth race at Churchill Downs was his last, coming in eighth. He'd developed career-ending bone chips in both front knees. Life after racing for most horses usually ends in one of two ways. Animals with good genes are used for stud service in hopes of producing superior stock. Others are sent to slaughter at rendering plants in Canada and Mexico. Furniture store chain IKEA made headlines in 2013 when traces of horse meat were found in the store's famous Swedish meatballs, which were sent out to several countries across Europe.  The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) estimates that 80,000 horses annually get processed for meat. More: Oxford firefighters, Oakland Co. deputies rescue horse trapped under ice More: Woman gets jail for neglect of horses in western Michigan (L to R) Mr. Palmer and Warrior Inside play with each other at their stalls inside Willowbrooke Farms in Plymouth, Michigan on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. This farm caters towards retired race horses enrolled in the Canter USA program that rehabs, retrains and finds new homes for thoroughbreds who leave racing at young ages when they become injured or are not fast enough to win. . (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)   Warrior Inside got lucky. He ended up at Canter Michigan, one of the few sanctuaries in the country that gives losing horses another shot. "When horses broke down, they would just get rid of them," said Canter Michigan's horse trainer Jennifer Blades on owners of racetracks. "Now, they're not allowed to do that, so that's made more horses come in through the Canter program." Warrior Inside, known as Indy by his handlers, is one of nine horses at Canter Michigan. The organization in Commerce Township, founded in 1998, today has 19 affiliates nationwide rehabbing former racehorses for new careers as show horses or for law enforcement. Blades, said most of the horses she sees “just weren’t fast enough” or suffered an injury — common for young horses. Jennifer Blades, the owner and operator of Willowbrooke Farms in Plymouth poses for a portrait with Warrior Inside, a former race horse on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. The farm caters towards retired race horses enrolled in the Canter USA program which rehabs, retrains and finds new homes for thoroughbreds who leave racing at young ages when they become injured or are not fast enough to win. . (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)   Road to recovery Indy's trainer, Tim Glyshaw, donated the horse to Canter Michigan which sent him to Michigan State University's large animal clinic for surgery in May. Afterward, he spent six months in rehab at a Lansing-area farm.  But surgery and rehab is expensive. Horse operations usually cost between $3,000-$4,000 and rehab an additional $2,000-$3,000, Blades said. Canter Michigan relies on fundraisers and support from other nonprofit agencies. In December, the ASPCA granted $225,000 to nine equine rescue groups, including the Michigan and national chapters of Canter. After rehab, Blades said, training begins. “We start with groundwork,” said Blades. “We put them in a crosstie and they learn to be groomed, handled and to be quiet. A lot of the racehorses are very jumpy and they will kick at you and will bounce around a little bit to break the ties.” Warrior Inside, a former race horse, burns off energy inside Willowbrooke Farms in Plymouth on Tuesday, February 5, 2019.  (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)   Not all horses receive the same training, since every equine is different. Some horses may only be able to spend 20 to 30 minutes outside, while others can last for an hour, Blades said.   “When I go to work with a horse, I have a basic plan, but I have to adapt it according to how they’re doing that day or each horse individually,” she said. “And they have their good and bad days just like we do. Some have more of a work ethic and really want to be good, and others don’t really want to be bothered."   Horse racing in Michigan  According to the Michigan Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, a group dedicated to improving horse racing in the state, the rise of the sport in Michigan began in 1933 when Gov. William Comstock signed a law legalizing horse racing with wagering. Northville Downs became the state’s first racetrack, opening in 1944. Others soon followed, including Jackson Harness Raceway, Hazel Park Race Track and Detroit Race Course. Harness racers move down the home stretch at Northville Downs race track on Saturday, May 14, 2016 in Northville. (Photo: Kirthmon F. Dozier)   Horse racing hit its peak in the late 1980s, with eight tracks operating across the state, in cities such as Flint, Saginaw, Mount Pleasant and Muskegon. But the industry began to decline with increasing competition from other types of wagering, starting with the creation of the Michigan Lottery in 1972. Casinos built on Indian reservations became big in the 1980s, and Detroit saw the opening of three casinos in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Simulcasting, where guests could watch and bet on multiple live races in one location, helped keep racetracks open a little longer, but could not solely save them. Muskegon Race Course closed in 1997, with many of the other racetracks following suit into the late 2000s.  Last year, Hazel Park Race Track abruptly closed after nearly 70 years of business.The track was one of two racetracks still operating in the state, and the only track offering thoroughbred racing. Shortly after the closing of Hazel Park, home builder Hunter Pasteur Homes announced that Northville Downs will be sold and converted into a mixed-use development. The track plans to stay open through the 2020 racing season, and hopes to operate at a new location after the property is sold. Canter Executive Director Robbie Timmons said the group received two horses from Hazel Park right after the track closed, with another brought in last September. One equine has already found a new home.    However, Blades does not expect any horses from Northville Downs, since it only has standardbred horses, which are used in harness racing. Canter only trains thoroughbreds, with the majority coming from places like Ohio and Kentucky. A new life Willowbrooke Farms in Plymouth, caters to retired race horses enrolled in the Canter USA program that rehabs, retrains and finds new homes for thoroughbreds who leave racing at young ages when they become injured or are not fast enough to win.  (Photo: Eric Seals, Detroit Free Press)   How long it takes to get a racehorse ready for adoption can vary. Blades said horses are available for sale within a couple of months. But equines that have been injured might not be suitable for adoption until they've spent five to eight months in the program. When Indy is ready, he's expected to fetch $1,800, Blades said. Horses at Canter usually sell for prices ranging from $800 to $2,000 to buyers from as far away as North Carolina and Texas. Blades has yet to learn what Indy’s new career path will be, but she believes he "can do almost anything." “He’s quiet, easygoing, so I think he could be a pleasure horse. He’s built to be a jumping horse the way he moves, but we have not jumped him yet because we didn’t want to push it too soon. I think he’s gonna make some Canter adult an awesome horse for whatever they choose. "I just want to see the horse go on and be happy and have a good career and a good home.” By Micah Walker Reprinted with permission of the Detroit Free Press

More than 100 racing yards were on lockdown this past Thursday Feb 7 as horse races were called off due to a flu outbreak in Britain. All horse owners need to guard against the very real and present threat of equine influenza. According to a recent FEI health update in response to equine flu outbreaks, the virus can be easily transmitted between horses that are in close contact, such as attending events, group training and hunting, or between vaccinated and unvaccinated horses in the home yard. “Vaccinating horses against equine influenza is key to combating the spread of equine influenza,” FEI Veterinary Director Göran Åkerström said. “It is important that all horses are vaccinated, regardless of whether or not they compete or come into contact with other horses, but there are also biosecurity measures that should be put in place, including best hygiene practices.” Plan Ahead The approach of spring and the anticipation of outings and increased exposure to pathogens means it is time to book the vet for shots. How well do you understand the vaccines currently available and the discussions you should have with your vet? Six questions are asked in Equine Guelph’s healthcare tool – the Vaccination Equi-Planner, kindly sponsored by Merck Animal Health, to help horse owners start those conversations. Every farm has different risk factors including: age, use, sex, exposure to outside horses and geography. Whether you are the proud owner of a young foal, competition horse, hobbyhorse or broodmare, the Vaccination Equi-Planner (EquineGuelph.ca/vaccinationtool) points out considerations for each and discusses different core and optional vaccines your vet may recommend. Your veterinarian will be up to date on what diseases are endemic in your location. Did you know horses aged 1 - 5 tend to be more susceptible to influenza? Horses that travel or are exposed to travelling horses or new arrivals are also at increased risk. "Equine influenza is one of the most frequent respiratory tract disease in horses. As such, it has a significant impact on equine populations worldwide. Vaccination along with appropriate biosecurity measures remains one of the most effective ways to prevent this highly contagious disease. However, immunity against influenza is rather short-lived, so horses that are at higher risk of getting infected can benefit from a semi-annual booster. Horse owners should discuss with their veterinarian the most appropriate vaccination schedule based on their horses’ specific circumstances. Also, as the influenza virus constantly changes through antigenic drift, best practice calls for using a vaccine that includes recent strains of influenza as recommended by the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE). An influenza modified live virus vaccine can also provide coverage against current strains through broad cross-protection," says Dr. Serge Denis, Equine Consultant with Merck Animal Health. What is a Modified Live Vaccine? A modified live equine A/Equine 2 influenza vaccine for intranasal administration is commercially available in Canada. “I have had some interesting conversations with horse owners regarding vaccinations,” says Veterinarian and Ontario Association of Equine Practitioner President Amy Bennet. “There does seem to be some misconceptions regarding specific vaccines, especially the modified live vaccines. By far, the biggest concern I hear from horse owners is that their horse could potentially become sick from the modified live vaccine and they are concerned that their horse could then pass this disease onto other horses. I also hear concerns of unvaccinated horses becoming inadvertently vaccinated from a recently vaccinated horse within the herd.” Bennet explains, a modified live vaccine is derived from the naturally occurring pathogen but is modified in a way that it doesn’t produce clinical disease, while still mounting a strong immune response. Modified live vaccines for influenza are given intra-nasally. When the vaccine replicates in the horse’s nasal mucosa, a rapid local immune response occurs. The horse develops an immune response that combats disease similar to when the horse is exposed to the wild strain equine influenza virus, making sure that the tissues that would be first exposed to the disease have the strongest immunity to it.   By giving a modified live vaccine, your veterinarian is administering a live pathogen, that has been modified so it will not cause the clinical disease but will mount an immune response to help provide protection against the disease, should the animal ever be exposed. More about the science behind modified live and inactivated vaccines can be found at EquineGuelph.ca/vaccinationtool under resources. Know the Rules Given the highly contagious nature of the disease and the impact on horse health and industry economics, some racing regulators, like British Horse Racing Authority, and racetracks, such as Woodbine, as well as organizations including the United States Equestrian Federation, Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) and Equestrian Canada have rules requiring vaccination against equine influenza. Check on the records required. For example, Equine Canada passports must be signed and stamped by your certified veterinarian and filled in with the date of administration, name and batch number of vaccine, method of administration (Intra-muscular or Intra-nasal) among other specified details. There are also windows of time before competitions for the administrations of vaccines to be aware of.   Equine Guelph and Merck Animal Health are pleased to provide a comprehensive starting point for horse owners to begin drafting their annual personalized immunization plan with the Vaccination Equi-Planner. This information will help when discussing vaccinations with your vet. Image Caption: The personalized questions in EquineGuelph.ca/vaccinationtoolhelps horse owners start conversations with their vet for an annual plan.   By: Jackie Bellamy Zions

Given the demanding life of the equine athlete, a high number of racehorses are at risk of digestive tract health concerns such as ulcers and colic. In a new online short course by Equine Guelph on TheHorsePortal.ca, March 11 – 29, you can learn from experts how to reduce the chance of digestive tract issues in your barn, and improve your horse’s performance on the track. High energy concentrates and the need for high energy diets to sustain performance and body condition can contribute to digestive health issues. Highly experienced equine nutritionist Don Kapper (Professional Animal Scientist) will be sharing his wealth of knowledge on feeding for optimal digestive health and performance. Kapper is the author of the chapter on “Applied Nutrition” for the authoritative veterinary textbook: “Equine Internal Medicine”, 2nd edition and was a member of the “Performance Electrolyte Research” team at the University of Guelph.  Dr. Melissa McKee of McKee-Pownall Equine Services, discovered a love of the Standardbred athlete while attending veterinary school. After working as a veterinarian in New Jersey and Alberta, Dr. McKee returned to Ontario in 2002 and now focuses on helping race and performance horses reach their potential. She understands well the stress associated with being a high-level athlete, including race day, transport, and limited turn-out. McKee looks forward to the discussion forums offered in this unique online course.    Dr. Kyle Goldie practices in all areas of equine veterinary medicine, and has a keen interest in quarter horse racing. He looks forward to being a part of this important course that will help horse owners detect early signs and symptoms of ulcers and colic, help assess management plans, and develop preventative strategies.   FREE courses available to trainers, assistant trainers, grooms, jockeys, drivers and other current AGCO licence holders on a first come, first served basis with coupon code. Limited space is available. Join the winning herd improving performance through digestive health. Never taken an online course before? No worries! This course takes a common sense and practical approach to training – no prior online learning experience required. Time online is flexible and at your convenience, working around your schedule. AGCO licence holders can find coupon codes and sign up for Gut Health & Colic Prevention, exclusive to racing industry members. Equine Guelph thanks the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) for providing education, training and awareness project funding in support of AGCO licensees.   Image Captions: Don Kapper, Professional Animal Scientist Dr. Melissa McKee, founding partner of McKee-Pownall Equine Services Dr. Kyle Goldie of McKee-Pownall Equine Services   by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

Los Angeles – This morning, PETA called on the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office to launch an immediate investigation into the deaths of 19 Thoroughbred horses used for racing in just the first eight weeks of the Santa Anita racetrack’s current season. The horses sustained broken bones while racing or training, and PETA believes that they likely had undisclosed injuries that were masked by medications given to keep lame and unfit horses competing—and that while the drugs may be legal, racing injured horses likely violates state anti-cruelty laws. PETA is also calling on the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) to investigate the trainers of all the horses who died in the last two months and review all veterinary records. In California, every horse who dies on the track is necropsied—and the results of thousands of these procedures show that the breaks usually occurred where there was already an injury. According to PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, these horses “were invariably doped up and literally run to death.” In a presentation to The Jockey Club, CHRB Equine Medical Director Dr. Rick Arthur stated that “90 percent of all horses suffering fatal musculoskeletal injuries racing or training have pre-existing pathology—a prior injury—at the site of their fatal injury.” “If 19 football players died during one season, there would be hell to pay—and it would be an understatement to say that the NFL would be under scrutiny,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “If trainers know that horses are sore or injured, and they’re giving them painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, and sedatives to keep them running when they should be resting, the trainers are culpable in these deaths and should be charged with cruelty to animals.” One ugly fact is that most horses are injected with the powerful anti-inflammatory phenylbutazone (aka “bute”) 24 hours before racing—supposedly to prevent swelling. But the drug also masks pain and keeps a lame horse running to his or her detriment. For this reason, injuries that can cause a horse’s leg bones to snap or shatter on the track are missed during pre-race examinations because the horse isn’t feeling or showing the pain of an injury and the track veterinarian doesn’t examine trainers’ records. A lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court in New Jersey in March 2018 by a harness racing fan who lost a bet only to find out later that the winning horse had been illegally drugged is pending. Local residents will protest at Santa Anita on Sunday. PETA’s appeal for an investigation is available upon request. PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a belief in human supremacy that allows animals to be exploited for human gain. For more information, please visit PETA.org.

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. – “Feeding and Care of Mare/Foal, Stallion, and Growing Horse” is the over-arching theme of the upcoming Horse Management Seminar hosted by the Rutgers Equine Science Center and Rutgers Cooperative Extension. The seminar, scheduled from 8:30 am – 3:45 pm on Sunday, February 10, 2019, will feature presentations by several equine experts. “This year we selected a topic that we have not covered during any of the previous Horse Management Seminars. Even if you don’t currently breed horses, the presentations will have lots of information for everyone!” says Dr. Carey Williams, Extension Equine Specialist and Associate Director of Extension for the Equine Science Center. “Our goal for this workshop is to bring in the leading experts in each of these topic areas. This includes broodmare and growing horse nutrition, care of the stallion, and new reproductive advances. We will also highlight some of the current, and future, research from Rutgers Equine graduate students.” Williams has assembled presenters who are recognized as the leading experts in their field to offer perspectives and personal insight. The morning will start with “Stallion Care” and “Recent Advanced in Equine Reproduction” by Dr. Ed Squires from University of Kentucky’s  Gluck Equine Research Center. “Dr. Squires leads the country in his contribution to the field of equine reproduction” says Williams, “we are honored to have him here at Rutgers courtesy of Vetoquinol USA.” The morning will also include Dr. Dan Keenan from Foundation Equine, a local veterinarian specializing in equine reproduction. Dr. Keenan will present “Care of the Mare and Foal Pre and Post Birth.”  The afternoon will start off with Dr. Amy Burk, who leads the equine breeding program at the University of Maryland, presenting “Feeding the Pregnant/Lactating Mare”, followed by “GI Development and Nutrition of the Growing Horse” by Dr. Paul Siciliano from North Carolina State University. Closing out the day will be a panel discussion from the three main speakers, moderated by Williams. Following the panel Dr. Williams’ doctoral student, Jennifer Weinert, will give a short presentation on some of the current research taking place on campus, as well as what future research has been planned. In addition to these presentations, the seminar will feature informational displays, networking opportunities with industry companies and area organizations, and ample time for one-on-one discussions with the day’s presenters. The complete program, registration information, and seminar brochure are posted on the Equine Science Center website at esc.rutgers.edu, as well as the registration site at: http://bit.ly/2019HMS . Space is limited, and the early bird discount for registration ends on January 28th, so be sure to register early! For questions, please contact Dr. Carey Williams at 848-932-5529, carey.williams@rutgers.edu. About Rutgers Equine Science Center The Equine Science Center is a unit of the New Jersey Agricultural Experiment Station at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. Its mission is Better Horse Care through Research and Education in order to advance the well-being and performance of horses and the equine industry. Its vision is to be recognized throughout New Jersey as well as nationally and internationally for its achievements in identifying issues in the horse industry, finding solutions through science-based inquiry, providing answers to the horse industry and to horse owners, and influencing public policy to ensure the viability of the horse industry. For more information about the Equine Science Center, call 848-932-9419 or visit esc.rutgers.edu.   ================================================== Carey A. Williams, Ph.D. Equine Extension Specialist Rutgers University 84 Lipman Dr., Bartlett Hall New Brunswick, NJ 08901   PH: 848-932-5529 Email Replies to: Carey.Williams@Rutgers.edu =================================================

A quintet of Ohio-based, practicing racetrack veterinarians provided the Ohio State Racing Commission members with their thoughts on out of competition testing at the OSRC's monthly meeting, Nov. 29, in Columbus. The veterinarians-who between them have over 150 years of experience-included: Dr. John Piehowicz, Cincinnati (Thoroughbreds/Standardbreds); Dr. John Reichert, Grove City (Standardbreds); Dr. Barry Carter, Lancaster, (Standardbreds); Dr. Dan Wilson, Cleveland, (Standardbreds); and Dr. Scott Shell, Cleveland (Thoroughbreds). All five veterinarians agreed that clients in their respective practices were in favor of out of competition in the Buckeye State. "We need to establish a simple process, whereas a public training center or private farm would be able to be easily licensed by the OSRC," Dr. Barry Carter stated. "By being licensed, it would allow the OSRC to walk onto a property at any time and test and/or examine any racehorse. "The race secretaries would only accept horses from licensed facilities," Dr. Carter added. "And the licensing fees should be nominal, so everyone would be encouraged to get licensed." "My major concern is, what will we test for?" said Dr. Dan Wilson. "The RCI protocol is currently burdensome and we need to narrow the focus of testing and test for street designer drugs such as neuro-toxins, blood doping agents and venoms. "Also, we'll have to deal with horses coming in from neighboring states such as Michigan and New York. At Northfield we have a ton of horses coming from these areas every night and have anywhere from 640 to 740 horses stabled on the grounds." "Out of competition testing will eliminate the 'shooting star' trainers, as well as the gossip and innuendoes that are a backstretch constant," Dr. John Piehowicz acknowledged. "Out of competition testing also serves as a strong deterrent to those few bad apples we have in the racing industry. "Racing is a privilege, just like driving, and protocol will need to be set well in advance," Dr. Piehowicz continued. "We're going to need to establish who does the testing? What criteria is that person going to have to be authorized to test horses? What about out of state competitors? How do we handle them? We're going to have to work closely in cooperation with surrounding states. "The penalties need to be stiff too-ten or 15-year suspensions or a life ban for medications that are injurious to the welfare of the horse," Dr. Piehowicz stressed. "This year at Belterra Park we had 900 horses on the grounds and 30 to 40% of those on race day are ship-ins, so a slap on the wrist for a drug that has no business being in a horse's system isn't appropriate." "I'm firmly in favor of out of competition testing but the RCI model as it currently stands is just way too large," said Dr. Scott Shell. "There are drugs out there right now that have no business being in a horse: venoms, toxics and blood-doping agents like synthetic EPO. However, there are a lot of drugs on the RCI list that we use as healing agents and we need to narrow the scope to those harmful agents. "Out of competition testing will also help to eliminate excess testing expenses," Dr. Shell continued. "In order for me to keep my veterinarian license, I'm required to be accountable for every drop of medication that goes into every horse and when and where I performed that service. Therefore, a trainer needs to be able to produce a vet record of his or her horses so that regulators have a clear idea of what is therapeutic and what isn't. "For instance, anabolic steroids are a controlled substance that we, as veterinarians, use therapeutically, and we need to establish the difference between when medications are used therapeutically and when they are not." "Out of competition testing has become a necessity," Dr. John Reichert admitted. "The majority of trainers are operating within the rules, but because of the few bad apples we need out of competition testing and we need to establish accurate testing. I'm talking about agents that have long term effects on a horse's system: blood doping, venoms, etc. We need an effective narrow scope of testing, and the accuracy of testing is paramount to establishing severe penalties for the cheaters. "We also need to think about legal concerns," Dr. Reichert continued. "For instance, do we do random testing, or do we pick the obvious cheaters? There's not many trainers who operate on a 400 to 600-win average. But we're also going to have to think about horses that throw in bad races for reasons such as flipped-palates and tying up, and then dramatically improve when in the hands of a new trainer who can help alleviate those issues. "I also think that logistically we'll have to figure out how we're going to cooperate amongst the other states who already have out of competition testing in place," Dr. Reichert noted. "For instance, different states have different testing procedures. Are we going to test the horses in the state they're currently in or do we bring them to a central location? The manpower to do the testing has to be credentialed and capable as well." "In my opinion, out of competition testing is the biggest deterrent to illicit drug use in this industry," Dr. Barry Carter concluded. "Obviously, out of competition is a multi-faceted issue which needs to be discussed further," stated Robert Schmitz, OSRC Chairman. "At our January 2019 meeting I'm asking the Ohio Department of Agriculture's testing lab to be on hand to lend their insight into this issue." by Kimberly Rinker, OSDF Administrator 

Guelph, ON, May 10, 2018 - Ah Spring; when countless materials are covered in shedding horse hair including your clothes, car, perhaps even your couch if you don’t change out of barn clothes immediately when you get home. But what if you are not covered in your horses shedding coat? Delayed shedding or regional hypertrichosis can be early warning signs of Pituitary Pars Intermedia Dysfunction (PPID) – a metabolic condition that suppresses the immune system when high cortisol levels increase blood sugar levels.  Look for abnormal hair coat including patches of long hair on the legs, wavy hair on the neck, changes in coat colour or shedding patterns and unusual whisker growth.  Equine Guelph’s Senior Horse Challenge healthcare tool contains useful resources to practice identifying metabolic issues.   Did you know horses seen for laminitis have frequently been found to have PPID or Equine Metabolic Syndrome (EMS)? Laminitis can be a sign of both metabolic issues yet it is often treated without identifying the underlying cause.   There is a fair bit of confusion in the horse world over mixing up PPID and EMS as they share many of the same clinical signs. Horses with PPID may also have some of the features of EMS. Equine Metabolic Syndrome had many previous names: peripheral Cushing’s Syndrome, pseudo Cushing’s syndrome, hypothyroidism, and insulin resistance syndrome.   Horses with EMS do not display hypertrichosis (excessive hair growth) or delayed shedding. New research studies are investigating changes in gut microflora as another possible early warning sign of EMS. PPID cases are more common in horses over 15 where EMS tends to be seen in horses over 5 years of age. Laminitis and obesity are often the first clues in identifying both disorders. Working with a veterinarian who can perform diagnostics is necessary to conclude which disorder you are dealing with and determine the best treatment options. Early warning signs can be subtle and of course early diagnosis is important.   “Every year Boehringer Ingelheim sponsors a PPID testing campaign in partnership with Animal Health Laboratory in Guelph,” says Guillaume Cloutier, DVM, Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health. “In 2017, out of the 442 horses that were tested, 273 (62%) had a positive result for PPID.”   To learn more about detecting early warning signs for metabolic issues and other important factors in maintaining health as your horse ages, visit Equine Guelph’s Senior Horse Challenge Healthcare Tool, kindly sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim.   by: Jackie Bellamy-Zions

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Bisphosphonates — a class of drugs that prevent the bone-density loss —might have some therapeutic value for older racehorses but speakers at the Conference on Equine Welfare and Racing Integrity warned of the potential harm caused by such treatments for young horses such yearlings and 2-year-olds.  That was among the takeaways from Wednesday’s Animal Welfare Forum of the Association of Racing Commissioners International’s 84th annual conference, being held through Friday at the Hotel Hot Springs. The related discussion included how pari-mutuel racing’s regulators might address abuse of bisphosphonates and at what stage should horses come under the jurisdiction of a racing regulatory authority. ARCI members are the only independent entities recognized by law to license, make and enforce rules and adjudicate matters pertaining to racing. Dr. Jeff Blea, a Southern California veterinarian who is the past chair of the American Association of Equine Practitioners and heads its racing committee, called bisphosphonates “a nuclear button right now, not only in the racing industry but in the breeding industry.”  Dr. Lynn Hovda, the Minnesota Racing Commission’s equine medical director, said bisphosphonates don’t just impact what could be a sore bone or joint, but they go throughout the skeletal system.  Dr. Sue Stover, a professor at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, said the rational for giving young horses bisphosphonates is to ward off stress fractures, joint problems and some abnormalities. “Ultimately it was just the silver bullet of preventing all these problems,” she said. However, Stover said that bisphosphonates in young horses actually interfere with the development and growth of bone, reduce bone’s ability to heal and makes bone more susceptible to cracks. One study of Israel military recruits showed bisphosphonates did not prevent stress fractures when given before training, she said. One of her major concerns is that bisphosphonates, as analgesics, have the potential to mask pain. Conference attendee Carrie Brogden — a breeder and consigner whose Machmer Hall Farm in Paris, Ky., bred champion Tepin — said she and husband Craig do not treat horses with bisphosphonates but that the panel opened her eyes about what could be an industry problem. “You’re talking about horses who may have been treated as yearlings coming down the race pipeline,” she said. “I guess it’s a small sample right now. But this is being kind of pushed in Lexington as like the safe cure, not as something to be avoided.” Blea said taking a page from the British Horseracing Authority’s ban on bisphosphonates in race horses under 3 1/2 years old and requiring a 30-day “stand down” from racing “would be a good place to start.” He said the AAEP recently assembled a committee to discuss bisphosphonates and mentioned a talk on the subject that he gave two years ago to several hundred veterinarians. “I asked, ‘How many people are using bisphosphonates in their practice?’” Blea said. “There might have been five or six people raise their hands. After the talk, 25 people came up to me asked me, ‘Is there a test for it?’ “The reality is that we don’t know enough about it. I’ve spoken to practitioners who have told me it is rampant in the thoroughbred yearling industry, rampant in the 2-year-old training sales. I know it’s being used on the racetrack, though I don’t believe it’s being used as much on the racetrack as people think. I think it’s one of those things that have come and gone.” But John Campbell, the legendary harness-racing driver who last year retired to become president and CEO of the Hambletonian Society, said the standardbred industry has had “great luck” using bisphosphonates to treat young horses with distal cannon-bone disease with “no adverse affects that I can see.” He noted that thoroughbreds are much more at risk of catastrophic injuries than the gaited standardbreds. ARCI president Ed Martin urged racing regulators to start working on a model rule as to when jurisdiction over a horse begins, which could allow them to address  the concern over bisphosphonates. One of ARCI’s missions is to create model rules that provide the member regulatory groups a blueprint for their own laws or legislation dealing with all aspects of horse racing. “I think it would behoove all of us to work on a model regulatory policy so we have uniformity in terms of when the horse should come under the jurisdiction of the racing commission,” Martin said. “When we talk about out-of-competition testing or questioning the use of certain medications, the first thing somebody is going to say is, ‘You don’t have jurisdiction over this horse, and you don’t regulate the practice of veterinary medicine.’” Matt Iuliano, The Jockey Club’s executive vice president, said that about 75 percent of thoroughbreds will make a start by age 4, leaving a 25-percent “leakage rate.” He suggested a more cost-effective and logical place to put horses under regulatory control is once they have a timed workout, indicating an intent to race. “You’ve probably taken that 75 percent to 90 percent,” he said. Eric Hamelback, CEO of the National Horsemen’s Benevolent & Protective Association, agreed with starting regularity control with a horse’s first published work. He expressed hope for a common-sense rule that would be fair to everyone, while cautioning of bisphosphonates, “There is a lack of facts and research being done. We don’t want to go after writing rules just to write rules. Finding out exactly, if there is a concern — and what that concern is — to me is the most important first stage. And then where we’re going to attack and fix the problem.” Identifying risk — and protective — factors in horses  Dr. Scott Palmer, the equine medical director for the New York Gaming Association, discussed identifying risk factors in racing, including those at “boutique” meets such as Saratoga, Del Mar and Keeneland, with the inherent demands to get owners’ horses to those races because of their exceptional purse money and prestige. Palmer cited some risk factors as being on the “vets” list for an infirmity, not racing at 2, trainer change, switching to a different track’s surface and dropping in class. He said protective factors also must be identified. Palmer said changes that have established themselves as diminishing risks would not all be popular and could require a change in mindset, such as writing fewer cheap claiming races, limiting the claiming purse to twice the value of the horse, consolidating race meets, biosecurity and limiting the number of stalls given the large outfits. He said racetrack safety accreditation by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association is important. Also mentioned: continuing education for veterinarians, trainers and assistant trainers, along with increased scrutiny of horses seeking removal from the vets list after a long layoff. “We’re not going to get rid of fixed risk factors, but we can mitigate them,” Palmer said. Dr. Rick Arthur advises the California Horse Racing Board on equine medication and drug testing, veterinary medicine and the health and safety of horses under CHRB’s jurisdiction. After a rash of fatalities in 2016, Del Mar’s actions included allowing only horses having timed workouts to be on the track for the first 10 minutes following a renovation break and giving up a week of racing to allow additional time to get the track in shape for the meet after the property was used for the San Diego County Fair Arthur cited a study that determined horses scratched by a regulatory veterinarian did not race back for 110 days on average, while the average horse ran back in about 40 days. “The bottom line is we’re actually identifying the right horse,” he said of vet scratches. “The real issue is: are we identifying all the horses we should?” Sports betting: “Amazing potential” Horse racing, professional sports leagues and casinos are awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court decision this spring on New Jersey’s challenge to the constitutionality of the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA), which for the last quarter-century effectively has made sports betting illegal except in Nevada and a few other states. The consensus of a conference panel was that sports betting could be on us extremely quickly and that racetracks and states, as well as racing regulators who in some states might oversee betting on sports, must be prepared.  Jessica Feil, a gaming law associate with Ifrah Law in Washington, D.C., said she thinks racing and sports betting will fit well together and could open up new kinds of wagers on horses, including parlays that span sporting events and races. “I envision amazing potential,” she said. Alex Waldrop, CEO of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, said one advantage for horse racing is that the Interstate Horse Racing Act of 1978 allows bets to be made across state lines, which paved the way for simulcasting into commingled pools. “We have some leverage,” he said. "If sports waging goes forward, you won’t be able to bet across state lines” without passage of enabling federal legislation. Attached photos: Dr. Sue Stover, a professor at the University of California Davis School of Veterinary Medicine, discusses bisphosphonates on a panel that included moderator Dr. Corrine Sweeney (far left) of the Pennsylvania Racing Commission and Dr. Lynn Hovda, equine director for the Minnesota Racing Commission, with the ARCI's Kerry Holloway on the computer launching a visual presentation. A panel Wednesday discussing at what point horses should come under the jurisdiction of a racing regulatory authority (left to right): National HBPA CEO Eric Hamelback; Tom DiPasquale, executive director of the Minnesota Racing Commission, and Matt Iuliano, executive vice president of The Jockey Club. The Association of Racing Commissioners International

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