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Kentucky State Veterinarian Recommends Best Practices for Yearling Inspections in Advance of Revised Thoroughbred Sales Season

May 9, 2020

By: Jay E. Ingle and Chacey R. Malhouitre

As the thoroughbred industry tries to return to a sense of normalcy, plans for thoroughbred sales are underway. Fasig-Tipton has adjusted its calendar to present a new Selected Yearling Showcase on September 9-10 for yearlings typically considered for The Saratoga Sale, as well as yearlings that would typically be offered in the upper echelon of its July Sale and New York Bred Yearling Sale. Keeneland’s 2020 September Yearling Sale follows beginning on September 14.  

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Office of State Veterinarian has released guidance for Kentucky’s equine industry to help prepare for these sales, outlining recommended guidelines and best practices for inspections of sale yearlings.  In addition to following the guidance previously released on March 25 (summarized here), the general Coronavirus Guidelines for America, and guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the State Veterinarian recommended the following best practices for Yearling Inspections and Assessments:

  1. When feasible, the inspections should be conducted outside. Alternatively, barns should be open to allow as much exchange of fresh air as possible.
  2. Equipment (leads, shanks, twitches, grooming etc.): Should be assigned to a barn/horse and not passed to different individuals. This equipment should be cleaned and disinfected daily.
  3. Surfaces (desk, rails, gates etc.) having contact with individuals or equipment should be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
  4. Paperwork: Paperwork should be completed digitally and submitted electronically when possible.
  5. Communication should be via phone call, email or text.
  6. Individuals involved in inspections should follow the following guidance:

Inspection Team Members (and others who may visit for inspecting yearlings): 

  • Minimize the number of individuals going onto a farm at any given time by coordinating with the farm to ensure no other guests will be on the grounds. 
  • Farms should schedule guests to arrive and depart without interacting and with enough time to wash hands on arrival and departure. 
  • Cleansing or sanitizing stations should be setup at or near the point of entry. 
  • Individuals who visit multiple facilities daily must understand and accept the additional steps they must take to avoid becoming contaminated and potentially transferring the contagion to other environments.
  • Yearling inspectors and others coming onto the farm should take their temperature two times daily and not report to work if a fever is detected. Any fever detected should be reported to a supervisor or manager.
  • In accordance with the Governor's latest directions, yearling inspectors and others working indoors should wear a cloth face covering (mask) and should consider wearing the face-covering outdoors when deemed appropriate.
  • There should be no physical contact and social distancing should be maintained between individuals presenting the horse(s) and inspectors. Our objective is to minimize the number of individuals working in close proximity.


Horse Assessment:

  • Physical contact with the horse should be minimized and if physical contact is made, the individual will clean/sanitize hands afterward or alternatively wear latex or nitrile gloves that are changed between horses.
  • Avoid transfer of paperwork – reports support contagions are easily transferred to/from paper products. All administrative processes should be completed electronically when possible. This includes your assessment forms, worksheets, and summary reports.


Farm Employees:

  • There should be no physical contact between individuals and they should practice social distancing.
  • Farm employees should check their temperatures two times daily. If an elevated fever is detected they should report the fever to their supervisor and not interact with the veterinarian.
  • Where possible, employees working on the farm should be 'consistently compartmentalized', meaning an individual's day-to-day routines should be that they work with the same people daily, and do not work different shifts having interaction with new or different individuals.
  • Ideally, there would be one farm employee per barn working with the inspector's team. This individual should be at or near the head of the horse and away from the inspectors.


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