UPDATED: Delaware Park Officials Isolate Horse With Strangles

by | 06.29.2019 | 3:33pm
Delaware Park

One horse that tested positive for strangles has been put in an isolation barn outside of the stable area at Delaware Park.

According to John Mooney, executive director of racing at the Wilmington, Del., track, the horse stabled in a lightly populated barn was sent to a nearby clinic about one week ago after showing discomfort in the neck area. The horse spent several days at the clinic, then was returned to Delaware and moved to the isolation barn after a culture identified strangles –  a bacterial infection from the Streptococcus equi subspecies.

Strangles affects the upper airway and lymph nodes of the head and neck and is transmittable through nasal discharge. Shared water buckets, feed tubs, tack, and clothing and equipment of horse handlers can spread the disease. It may take up to 14 days after exposure for a horse to display clinical signs – which include fever, nasal discharge and enlarged lymph nodes between the lower jaw bones.

The barn in which the horse had been stabled is not under quarantine, although the state veterinarian is monitoring the horses carefully and they are permitted to train outside of regular training hours.

There is no quarantine at Delaware Park, Mooney said.

The New York Racing Association alerted horsemen that horses from Delaware Park will not be permitted on the grounds, including those that ship to Delaware to race and are scheduled to return.

In addition, the Maryland Jockey Club said it will not accept entries from horses stabled at Delaware Park until further notice.

On Saturday, Delaware's state veterinarian, Dr. Heather Hirst, with the Delaware Department of Agriculture, distributed a memo to racetracks in the region under the memo heading: “Rumor Control and Clarification.” It read:

I am writing to inform you that there are no cases of equine herpes virus (EHV-1) neurological disease at Delaware Park.

One horse at Delaware Park tested positive for Streptococcus equi (Strangles) after being examined by its veterinarian for stiffness and neck pain on 6/21/19. The horse was moved to isolation immediately, and to date has not developed clinical signs of Strangles. This horse will remain in isolation until test results are negative.

Barn mates of the positive horse are having their temperatures taken twice daily and may only train when all other horses have left the track and are in their barns.

Bio-security measures are being followed to prevent the spread of disease.

Please contact Chief Commission Veterinarian for the Delaware Thoroughbred Racing Commission at Delaware Park, Dr. Susan Botts, at 443-907- 9152 if you have any questions or concerns.

More about strangles from American Association of Equine Practitioners.

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