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. There have been four positives to date at the facility, including one Friday August 14, 2020.
The AGCO visited Leamington Raceway on August 14 for continued discussions and assessment. An isolation area for sick or suspected cases was identified. The AGCO has actively worked with Leamington Raceway officials to control the outbreak.
Testing of horses in close contact with the index case at Leamington have all been negative. There have been no reports of sick horses from Leamington. It has been 13 days since the horse that tested positive left the grounds.
As a result, in consultation with infectious disease expert Dr. Scott Weese of the University of Guelph, a decision has been made that horses on the grounds will be allowed to race and qualify on Friday August 21, 2020 unless any sick horses are reported. Trainers shall continue to monitor and record temperatures twice daily.
- Strangles is a highly contagious and serious infection of horses and other equines caused by the bacterium, Streptococcus equi.
- 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.
- The AGCO 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.
- The AGCO also recommended that 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.
- Trainers have been advised to take temperatures prior to shipping to any racetrack paddock.
- The AGCO has provided the industry with additional resources on the disease.
The AGCO is continuing to work with Dr. Weese. It is important that horse people report contagious diseases and take appropriate measures to protect their horses and those of others.
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