Strangles Identified in Horse at Ellis Park

A 4-year-old filly stabled at Ellis Park has been diagnosed with strangles. Rusty Ford, equine programs manager for the office of the state veterinarian, said the filly presented June 30 with an elevated body temperature and has since been removed from the grounds and taken to a private quarantine facility near Lexington.

The Henderson Gleaner reported the filly is one of 15 horses stabled in trainer Ron Moquett's barn. The remaining horses in Moquett's barn have been placed under quarantine and will undergo a three-part series of testing to determine if any of those animals are infected.

Ford said currently none of the horses remaining in the infected barn are showing any signs of illness.

Preliminary information suggests the infected filly arrived at Ellis Park from Prairie Meadows June 17, according to Ford.

Strangles is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi. The upper respiratory bacterial infection generally causes sudden fever, nasal discharge, depression, and swelling and rupture of the lymph nodes in the affected horse's head and throat area. Seldom fatal, strangles can restrict a horse's breathing.

Strangles was reported earlier this year at Churchill Downs and its Trackside Training Facility, as well as Florida's Palm Meadows Training Center.

"Thanks in part to the early detection by the trainer and attending veterinarian, we are optimistic that they affected animal was removed from the grounds at Ellis Park prior to her entering an infectious state," Ford said.