Government will cover the cost of testing Island racehorses for Strangles

Today, Minister of Finance Darlene Compton announced that the Province will support the harness racing industry by paying for testing for the presence of Streptococcal Equi (Strangles) in standardbred racehorses.

An Advisory Committee comprised of representatives from the Atlantic Veterinary College, Charlottetown Veterinary Clinic, PEI Harness Racing Industry Association, PEI Standardbred Horse Owners, Prince County Horsemen's Club,  Red Shores, Atlantic Provinces Harness Racing Commission, and the Province provided the recommendation that before racing resumes in May, all racehorses will be required to provide two negative nasopharyngeal culture tests.

"We are committed to assisting the people in our harness racing industry and ensuring their horses are safe and healthy. These funds will allow more horses to be tested, alleviate the financial burden on Island stables and horse people, and help us to re-open harness racing at Red Shores and tracks across the Island safely."

- Finance Minister Compton

Initial testing has been completed on all horses stabled at Red Shores, and veterinarians will be offering services at rural stables and matinee tracks to ensure all PEI horse owners have access to testing. 

Horse owners should contact their veterinarians to schedule testing for their horses. Veterinarian clinics will submit the paperwork for testing directly to the PEI Harness Racing Industry Association to administer the funding and pay for the testing. The estimated cost of all testing is $80,000.

"We appreciate the support from the provincial government for the PEI Standardbred industry by paying for the required testing," said Blaine MacPherson, chair of the PEI Harness Racing Industry Association. "By making testing services available to all PEI racehorse owners, we can ensure the health of our standardbred sector as we plan for our return to racing in May."

All horse people are reminded to remain vigilant and use appropriate biosecurity measures and monitor their horse's temperatures twice daily.  If any issues arise, they should consult their veterinarian immediately.  The health and safety of the animal population is the top priority, and those in the harness racing industry will be advised of any changes in circumstances regarding Strangles. 

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Spencer Lee
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