KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 23 — The Royal Malaysian Polo Association (RMPA) has reminded its members to step up preventive measures following the African Horse Sickness (AHS) outbreak in Thailand.

Its executive secretary, Peter Ibrahim Abisheganaden said most of the polo clubs in the country have been advised to follow strict prevention rules after five horses were detected with the virus in Terengganu recently and had to be put down to prevent it from spreading.

Peter, who is also the RMPA League coordinator, revealed that the outbreak and also the Covid-19 pandemic, have affected their plan to organise several polo tournaments this year.

“Following the cases in Terengganu, the Department of Veterinary Services (DVS) has restricted the movement of the horses, which means we can’t have even our normal polo tournaments that we organise every year,” he told Bernama, today.

“The only competition taking place at the moment is at the club polo, and not any national-level tournaments,” Peter added. 

Commenting further, he revealed that the horse movement restrictions were enforced in April this year, and polo clubs must get clearance to travel to other states, besides complying with other strict DVS criteria.

“I was informed that Terengganu has isolated the movement of the horses, Penang is doing a quarantine right now, while in Kuala Lumpur, most of the polo clubs are not allowing horses to come from any state,” Peter added. 

He also claimed that polo clubs need to fork out a huge amount of money just to protect their horses from the outbreak, especially the daily spraying of stables which cost about RM5,000.

Prior to this, the Equestrian Association of Malaysia (EAM) had alerted local horse owners to take necessary precautions following the AHS outbreak in Thailand.

The deadly viral disease which originated in Africa, commonly affects horses, mules and donkeys, is reported to have killed more than 500 horses in Thailand.

The virus is spread by infected insects (biting midges) and causes fever and heart and respiratory (breathing) problems in the affected animals.

— Bernama  

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