In early December 2020 the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) was informed a Standardbred horse that had travelled from PEI had tested positive for strangles. That horse was put in isolation at a farm in Princeton, ON. There were three other horses in the trailer.
Of the three, one non-racing saddle horse was unloaded at a Quebec farm, and the second horse was unloaded at the First Line Training Centre and immediately put in isolation. This horse was not considered a risk to other horses.
The third horse was unloaded at theTomiko Training Centre near Campbellville, ON in proximity to 12 other horses. As a result, the AGCO required all trainers with horses in that barn to have their veterinarians create a testing plan and submit it to the AGCO.
That testing regime has now concluded with the last horse that had a previous positive test now testing negative. This means there are no more horses in isolation at the Tomiko Training Centre. When racing resumes, all horses at the centre will be allowed to race/qualify.
Strangles is a highly contagious and serious infection of horses and other equines caused by the bacterium, Streptococcus equi. There is no such thing as zero risk. It is found in racehorses, including those without exposure to the known positive cases.
This case reminds all horse people to remain vigilant and institute appropriate biosecurity measures and should consult their veterinarians for advice.
For more information
Dr. Adam Chambers
Senior Manager of Veterinary Services