"We're restricting horses from Florida tracks and training centers until their connections can produce a negative PCR (polymerace chain reaction) and negative culture from nasopharyngeal washes or swabs taken after April 2nd," said Dr. Celeste Kunz, NYRA's chief examining veterinarian. "Trainers that have horses in a barn with a history of strangles since December 1, 2004, must get approval before entering NYRA grounds." Connections of all other horses originating outside of New York are required to submit a health certificate and a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection, dated within two days of shipment and signed by an attending veterinarian. The certificate must state that their horses have not come from a barn or premises under quarantine for strangles, been exposed to strangles or shown symptoms of the disease within the previous three weeks. The disease is caused by the bacteria streptococcus equi that enlarges the lymph nodes between a horse's jawbone forcing the animal to make "strangled" breathing sounds. High fever, depression and lack of appetite are usual first symptoms. There is also a thin, watery nasal discharge that quickly turns thick and yellow.
Edited press releaseStrangles has forced the New York Racing Association to place temporary restrictions on horses entering the grounds at either Belmont Park or Aqueduct.The NYRA restriction applies to horses currently stabled at Palm Meadows, Gulfstream Park, Payson Park, Tampa Bay Downs and Wellington. The restriction applies to ponies as well as racehorses.