The Kentucky Department of Agriculture has released the quarantine of barn 9 at Ellis Park following a third round of negative test results for the equine bacterial disease known as strangles.
Under the protocol established by the KDA, each horse in the quarantined barn was tested for strangles in three consecutive tests before being allowed to return to the general horse population at Ellis Park. Nasal wash samples were taken during the first two tests while the final test consisted of an endoscopic examination of the gutteral pouches of each horse to ensure no infection was present.
The quarantine was contained to the single barn. Ron Moquett trains all 16 horses that were under restrictions. State agriculture officials had previously praised both the track and Moquett's efforts in taking preventative measures to halt the spread of the disease.
"Doc Leibring (Rodney Leibring, DVM and veterinarian to Moquett) is definitely a hero in this," said Paul Kuerzi, vice president and general manager of Ellis Park. "His quick action saved everyone a lot of heartache."
Barn 9 has been quarantined at Ellis Park since July 5 following a confirmed case of the disease in one horse. The infected horse, a 4-year-old filly, displayed possible symptoms of the disease during the first week of July. As symptoms progressed and the possibility of strangles was more probable, the filly was moved from barn 9 at Ellis Park to a private quarantine facility on July 4. Special training hours were set up for Moquett's horses while they were separated from the general horse population.
"We're just tickled to death that Ronny can get back to running," said Kuerzi. "We've all had some minor inconveniences from this, but he's the one who has endured the most, so we're just mainly happy for him."
Strangles is a bacterial infection that causes fever, nasal discharge and swelling in the throat. In severe cases, it can lead to the formation of abscesses in the throat that limit a horse's breathing.