One shedrow is under quarantine at Horseshoe Indianapolis after two horses were removed from the property earlier this week with symptoms of strangles. The two horses later tested positive for strangles, which is a highly contagious bacterial infection impacting a horse’s respiratory system.
A text message alert from the Illinois Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association indicated late Wednesday that Hawthorne would not be accepting any runners from Horseshoe until further notice. Eric Halstrom, vice president and general manager of racing at the track, confirmed that Kentucky animal health officials do not have any shipping restrictions on Indiana horses at the present time.
The positive tests triggered a 14-day quarantine, which began on Monday. Halstrom could not identify the trainer or trainers stabled in the impacted barn, but said that three days in, there are no more horses showing symptoms of illness. Horses in the quarantined barn will not be permitted to train or race for the duration of the quarantine, but all other training and racing activity at the track is continuing as normal with biosecurity protocols in place to minimize chance of disease spread.
Any horses shipping in to race at Horseshoe will be permitted to go to the receiving barn only. Shippers may sometimes be housed in a trainer’s barn if requested by their connections, but that has been temporarily suspended.
Strangles is characterized by fever, nasal discharge, and swollen lymph nodes around a horse’s head and jaws, hence the name.
Strangles can be passed between horses through nose-to-nose contact but also inanimate objects that are shared between horses.
Most horses recover well from strangles but young horses or those with compromised immune systems can be especially vulnerable.
Read more about strangles here.