Racing continues, but some horses at Red Shores will remain in quarantine

·2 min read

P.E.I.'s horse racing community has stepped up protective measures after the confirmation of an infectious disease at Red Shores in Charlottetown.

One case of strangles, a bacterial respiratory infection, was confirmed last week in a young horse, resulting in the quarantine of about 25 horses

According to the Atlantic Provinces Harness Racing Commission, the quarantine applies to horses kept in two locations: the stable at Red Shores belonging of Marc Campbell, a long-time and successful harness racer on Prince Edward Island, and at a farm in Winsloe. Campbell could not immediately be reached for comment by CBC News.

The commissions said those horses must test negative for the disease three times before the quarantine will be lifted.

"We did consult with veterinarians on-Island and off to make sure our protocols are current," said commission director Brett Revington. "It can be highly contagious."

The commission has recommended other horse owners at Red Shores locations in Charlottetown and Summerside monitor their livestock for symptoms and monitor animals' temperatures twice daily.

Fever is one early symptom of the disease.

Horse owners at Red Shores are following the commission's advice.

Jeff Lilley is taking temperatures of his horses at Red Shores in Charlottetown, following confirmation of the disease.

"People need to be vigilant," said Lilley. "I don't know a lot about it. I think as long as they keep the barn quarantined, we'll be OK."

Brian Higgins/CBC
Brian Higgins/CBC

In addition to fever, strangles can cause breathing problems and inflammation of lymph nodes in the jaws of horses. Symptoms can last for weeks and, on rare occasions, the disease can be fatal, according to faculty members at the Atlantic Veterinary College.

One round of the weekly testing of the affected horses in quarantine is already complete, according to Revington.

"Everyone's been very proactive… to limit the exposure just to the one stable rather than spreading across the racing community," said Revington.

Races scheduled at Red Shores in Charlottetown and Summerside continue as usual. The track has offered Campbell his own hours to jog the horses in his care to limit any contact with other animals.

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