The Florida Department of Agriculture has instituted a quarantine for strangles at Stonewall's Prestige Stallions in Ocala, Fla., impacting approximately 93 horses on the property.
Officials placed the farm under quarantine Dec. 20 after one horse presented with clinical signs of strangles and a positive test result on PCR. At the time of the Department's disease outbreak alert through the Equine Disease Communication Center on Dec. 21, six horses were considered clinical for the disease.
“The general protocol for strangles is for horses to remain in quarantine for 21 days past the last clinical signs or exposure,” said Franco Ripple, director of communications for the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.
Ripple said the department allowed seven stallions to be moved to a separate property, where they are expected to be released from quarantine in 10 to 14 days, barring any signs of infection. The 80-odd horses remaining at Stonewall's Prestige's main campus are expected to begin their 21 day countdown on Jan. 14.
“The owner is complying with all requests regarding biosecurity and our veterinarian manager is speaking with the owner on a daily basis,” said Ripple following an assessment completed late last week.
Multiple owners with horses at the facility have told the Paulick Report as recently as early January they had not been informed of the outbreak or quarantine.
Multiple attempts to reach Stonewall's Prestige registered agent and manager Richard Haisfield for comment went unreturned.
Strangles is a highly contagious respiratory infection named for the characteristic swelling it causes in the lymph nodes around the throat. It is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus equi equi, which can be transferred easily on hands, rags, and other shared objects (which pathologists call 'fomites'). Impacted horses have high fevers, nasal discharge and depression, which may or may not be accompanied by the lymph node swelling.
Part of the challenge in controlling a strangles outbreak is its impressive incubation period, which according to the Merck Veterinary Manual can range from three to 14 days before an infected horses will show symptoms. Horses may continue shedding the bacteria for up to a month after recovery. If treated properly, most horses make a full recovery from the illness.
In the 2018 breeding season, Stonewall's Prestige was home to Big Drama, Black Onyx, Burning Roma, Doneraile Court, El Kingdom, Fifteen Love, Greatness, Holiday Promise, Kibbutznik, Suns Out Guns Out, Suntracer, Telling, Uncle Vinny, and Zahadoom.
Haisfield, along with his wife Audrey, previously operated Stonewall Farm in Central Kentucky, which declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2010.
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