FTBOA Hosts Round Table on Strangles

Edited press release

Florida Thoroughbred Breeders' and Owners' Association officials said they are satisfied the strangles situation is being properly handled in Florida.

The FTBOA hosted a roundtable discussion April 1 with equine practitioners regarding the perception surrounding the five contained strangles positives at Palm Meadows Training Facility in South Florida. Among those in attendance was Dr. Michael Short, veterinarian manager--equine programs division of Animal Industry, and Dr. Dana Zimmel of the University of Florida.
"The attention strangles is receiving right now is disproportionate to the problem," Dr. Barry Eisaman said. "The attention is new, but the disease is not. Press coverage has been sensationalistic because strangles rarely gets into the racing population."
The principle causes of the press attention according to those in attendance are the timing of the racing calendar. Young horses are being pointed to upcoming Triple Crown races, and this is the time of year barns ship north from South Florida.
Since the cases of strangles were first made public, there have been no further positives at Palm Meadows. Short said there is no state quarantine issued, and Palm Meadows is complying with state measures of isolation.
"In the scope of things, this has impacted very few horses," Short said. "By implementing a plan of containment, you keep spread to a minimum. It's important that horse owners in Ocala/Marion County are at ease. This issue is being handled."
A general consensus among the veterinarians in attendance is the perception of the effects of strangles is much worse than the reality.
"I'm very comfortable with the assurances we received," said Dick Hancock, executive vice president of the FTBOA. "This is a very controlled situation and it shouldn't be of great concern. Of course, we encourage owners to work closely with the veterinarians on vaccination programs for all of their horses.

"We appreciate the local veterinary community, representatives from the University of Florida, and the state in helping us separate fact from fiction."