Horses stabled at Hoosier Park, in Anderson, Indiana, will not be allowed to enter Churchill Downs or its Trackside Louisville training center until further notice, track officials announced Wednesday.
On Saturday, the track quarantined 59 horses stabled in a barn with a horse suspected of having contracted Streptococcus equi—the causative agent of the equine bacterial disease strangles.
Hoosier Park received confirmation on Wednesday that two of the horses returned positive tests for the disease. Both have been removed from the stable area and isolated. No other horses in the quarantined barn are currently showing symptoms of strangles.
Symptoms of strangles are fever, nasal discharge, cough, loss of appetite, and difficulty swallowing. Also known as equine distemper, the disease also can result in enlarged lymph nodes, can impair breathing, and may even result in death through asphyxiation.
The disease is highly communicable for up to four weeks with the capability of contaminating the surroundings for another month after exposure to a contagious animal has ceased. Young horses are most susceptible, but strangles may occur in animals of any age.
Churchill Downs made the decision to ban Hoosier Park shippers indefinitely on the recommendation of the Kentucky State Veterinarian’s Office.
According to Churchill Downs officials, owners and trainers may ship their Churchill Downs or Trackside Louisville-based horses to race at Hoosier Park, but they will not be allowed to return until transmission of the disease is no longer a concern.