10/06/2009 11:00PM

Two Hoosier horses test positive for strangles

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Two of the 54 horses in a quarantined barn at Hoosier Park have tested positive for strangles, although they show no signs of that respiratory ailment, according to results released Tuesday by the track.

As a result, Hoosier's general manager of racing, Jeff Smith, acting on the recommendations of the track's veterinarian and the Indiana State Board of Animal Health, has ordered all horses in the subject barn removed from track grounds.

Both horses who tested positive were ponies, according to Randy Klopp, director of the local Horsemen's Benevolent and Protective Association.

One of the two horses who had already been moved to an offsite quarantine barn Saturday after spiking a fever also tested positive. Results for the remaining horse were not yet available.

The quarantined barn at Hoosier will be cleaned, disinfected, and locked for the remainder of the 2009 meet, which ends Oct. 24.

Strangles is caused by a bacterium called streptococcus equi and affects a horse's upper respiratory tract. It is not usually fatal in horses, but it is considered highly contagious.