Suspected Strangles Case at Belmont Park

(from New York Racing Association release)
The New York Racing Association placed the Belmont Park barn of trainer Steve Kappes under quarantine May 27 following discovery of a suspected case of strangles.

Strangles, a respiratory disease and the neurological form of equine herpes, is suspected in Kappes' horse Lady Libby, who was put into an isolation stall "after exhibiting signs suggestive of possible strangles," said Dr. Celeste Kunz, NYRA's chief examining veterinarian. Barn 60, where Lady Libby was stalled, is under quarantine.

The signs of strangles, a disease caused by a bacterium, streptococcus equi, may include nasal discharge, swelling in the lymph glands under the jaw or fever. Most animals recover, but horses that contract even a mild case must be isolated and removed from training or heavy work.

"This is a suspected case of strangles, not a confirmed case," Dr. Kunz said. "But we are taking this very seriously, and are taking every precaution and bio-security measure. We are testing every horse in the barn and horses that have been through the barn. And we have isolated Lady Libby. The test samples will be sent to two labs that are accommodating us through the holiday weekend. We should have word early next week."

During the winter, cases of strangles were reported in South Florida, while equine herpes has recently been isolated in Kentucky. NYRA has restricted horses coming from those jurisdictions.

On May 26, Dr. Kunz announced that horses stabled at Delaware Park are temporarily restricted from NYRA premises due to confirmed strangles.

Horses from Churchill Downs are temporarily restricted from NYRA premises until June 1. Horses from quarantined barns are prohibited from NYRA premises until further notice.

Trainers wishing to ship horses that have recently relocated from Churchill Downs or Delaware Park must first contact Dr. Kunz.

All trainers and veterinarians at NYRA racetracks are asked to report horses with high fevers, neurological signs or enlarged lymph nodes to Dr. Kunz.