10/14/2012 6:31PM

Hawthorne: Barn of horses kept in isolation following signs of unidentified illness


STICKNEY, Ill. – A barn of horses on the Hawthorne Race Course backstretch was placed in isolation Sunday after two horses with what appeared to be respiratory infections showed symptoms of neurological distress.

No tests have yet been performed on the horses, and thus they have not been diagnosed with a particular illness. Samples will be sent to a laboratory Monday morning – the soonest possible -- but lab-test results might not be available until Wednesday. One primary concern is that the animals could have contracted equine herpesvirus, a highly transmissible disease with potentially serious consequences for infected individuals.

Dr. Dawn Folker-Calderon, the state-employed veterinarian at Hawthorne, said Barn A had been placed in isolation Sunday morning after a horse showed signs of neurological distress late Saturday night. Horses won’t be permitted in or out of the barn, and humans leaving its confines must disinfect themselves. One horse residing in Barn A, trained by Roger Brueggemann, was scratched from Sunday’s Hawthorne card. The barn houses horses trained by Brueggemann, Jim DiVito, Mickey Goldfine, and Joe Kasperski.

Hawthorne assistant general manager Jim Miller said security guards had been stationed at the barn to ensure that state-established protocols were being followed.