On August 7, 2020, the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) was informed of a confirmed case of strangles in a 5-year-old Standardbred gelding in the Greater Hamilton area at the Emerald Isle Training Centre.
On August 12, 2020, the AGCO was informed of a sick 3-year-old Standardbred filly that was on the same trailer as the index case. This horse was stabled at Leamington Raceway between August 1 and August 6, 2020, before being moved to the owner’s farm where the horse subsequently was confirmed as having strangles.
Strangles is a highly contagious and serious infection of horses and other equines caused by the bacterium, Streptococcus equi.
As a result, the AGCO:
- Has informed Leamington Raceway, trainers of horses stabled at Leamington and trainers that purchased or claimed horses stabled at Leamington since August 1, 2020 about possible exposure. Recommended that their horses be monitored closely for signs of the disease such as fever, and nasal discharge.
- Has recommended increased biosecurity measures be taken by the industry, particularly those with horses that may have been exposed. Temperatures should be taken at least twice daily and recorded. Testing of exposed or sick horses for Strangles may be warranted.
- Will be visiting Leamington for continued discussions and assessment on August 14, 2020.
- Is actively working with Leamington Raceway officials to determine appropriate next steps.
- Is working with infectious disease expert Dr. Scott Weese at the University of Guelph.
- Advises trainers to take temperatures prior to shipping to any racetrack paddock. Associations shall check temperatures prior to any horse entering a paddock until further notice. Horses with fevers of 102.5F/39.1C or more will be scratched.
- Has provided the industry with additional resources on the disease.
Horse people are reminded to remain vigilant and institute appropriate biosecurity measures and should consult their veterinarians for advice.
The AGCO will continue to monitor the situation and any further developments will be reported.
For more information
Dr. Adam Chambers
Senior Manager of Veterinary Services