Two horses at Lone Star Park have tested positive for Equine Piroplasmosis, a tick-borne disease caused by parasites that affects horses, donkeys, mules, and zebras. In addition, a third horse that left Lone Star and had been shipped to New Mexico also tested positive for the disease.
According to officials at the Texas track, one of the horses, Seven Shooter, is trained by 2010 leading trainer Bret Calhoun, while another, Street Positioning, is trained by Kevin Favre. Brian House trains the horse that left for New Mexico.
As a result, horses in Calhoun’s barn, as well as Favre’s and House’s horses, have been restricted from racing and training with other horses by the Texas Animal Health Commission, whose representative, Bobby Crozier, is on the grounds at Lone Star.
“Right now, we are cooperating fully with the efforts of both the Texas Animal Health Commission and the Texas Racing Commission,” Lone Star president and general manager Drew Shubeck said in a statement. “We are following the direction (of Crozier), who has instructed us to place restrictions on the horses of the affected trainers. We will continue to work with the TAHC and Dr. Ken Quirk, the chief veterinarian for the Texas Racing Commission, to resolve this issue as quickly as possible.
“While we work toward resolution of the problem, we don’t anticipate any disruption in our racing schedule, which runs through July 18. We are also in discussions to make some adjustments in our daily training schedule to allow the quarantined horses access to the track for morning workouts.”
Though Equine Piroplasmosis is primarily transmitted to horses by ticks, the blood-borne disease has been spread mechanically from animal to animal by contaminated needles. Once infected, an equine can take seven to 22 days to show signs of illness.
Cases of Equine Piroplasmosis can be mild or acute, depending on the virulence of the parasite. Acutely affected equines can have fever, anemia, jaundiced mucous membranes, swollen abdomens, and labored breathing. Equine Piroplasmosis can also cause roughened hair coats, constipation, and colic.
In its milder form, Equine Piroplasmosis causes equines to appear weak and show lack of appetite.