About 70 horses are under quarantine at the track in Farmington after one horse fell sick.
FARMINGTON — About 70 horses at a barn of Finger Lakes Gaming & Racetrack are under quarantine after one animal there fell ill.
“We had one horse diagnosed with strangles, which is a highly contagious respiratory disease,” said David Brown, president of the Finger Lakes Horsemen Benevolent Protective Association.
Strangles is not fatal, but as a precaution one barn was quarantined to avoid spread of the disease, Brown said. No other horses have come down with the disease, though they remain under observation and monitoring.
The quarantine lasts 21 days and is up on July 28, this Saturday.
“We have been lucky,” said Brown. The quarantined horses are being closely monitored and watched, which includes taking each horse’s temperature daily.
Strangles is an infection caused by a certain bacteria and can be spread by horse-to-horse contact or by humans, tack, drinking troughs and other environmental factors. The Finger Lakes racetrack follows strict guidelines for treatment and handling of horses in such cases, said Brown. The sick horse came from out of state, Brown said — he thinks from West Virginia — and must have had the infection when it left there, he said.
The sick horse was moved to a local farm and is recovering in quarantine.
Brown, also a racehorse owner, added that horses coming from other tracks carry the greatest risk of becoming ill. The Finger Lakes track is known for its high percentage of horses coming from the Finger Lakes region and its trainers tending to also be horse owners. That bodes well for fewer instances of horse illness or breakdowns, Brown said: “If you own a horse you will take really good care of that horse.”
Finger Lakes experienced a bout of strangles in 2014, when two horses fell ill and were quarantined shortly before the racing season ended that December.
In 2010, a barn of horses at Finger Lakes was under quarantine as state officials investigated an illness that caused the death of a horse that had been at the track. A 4-year-old female thoroughbred had tested positive for Equine Herpesvirus 1. No other horses at the track had shown symptoms or any signs of having the virus as state officials and veterinarians closely monitored the situation.