Miami Animal Import Center & Santa Anita Race Track in Los Angeles to Partially Reopen After Deaths of Horses

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Miami International Airport quarantine center operated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Mar. 11, 2019

Operations will begin to return to normal Monday at Miami Animal Import Center and Santa Anita racetrack in Los Angeles that are 2,700 miles/4,400km apart but where the deaths of a total of 25 horses in less than three months remain apparently totally unrelated mysteries.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture that operates the Miami quarantine facility–the main import gateway for horses coming for the dressage, jumping and polo winter circuits centered in Wellington, Florida–reported that extensive testing found no trace of salmonella that was initially suspected as the cause of the deaths of four horses. But the faciity will partially reopen Monday.

The famed Santa Anita race track in Los Angeles on the other side of the country will reopen for training also on Monday following the deaths of 21 race horses there since late last year.

Soil samples and test data are being analyzed in a search for the cause of the race horse deaths. The Los Angeles Times reports the track hopes to reopen fully later this month.

The USDA reported that “a thorough cleaning and disinfection” of the Miami import center with 84 horse sralls had been completed.

It was closed to new arrivals almost two months ago after eight horses quarantined there became sick.

Four horses died and four recovered.

Veterinary experts were reported by the USDA as suspecting salmonella as the cause of illness.

But more than 180 samplaes from the facility were tested for salmonella as well as other diseases, such as E. coli, Equine Influenza, Equine Herpesvirus, Aeromonas caviae, Torovirus, Coronavirus, Lawsonia intracellularis, Neorickettsia risticii, and Clostridium ssp and toxins.

“This testing has not pinpointed the cause of illness,” the USDA said.

It said that 36 stalls will re-open Monday but the remaining 48 stalls will remain closed while flooring is replaced.