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This is a discussion on Strangles? within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category

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    09-20-2010, 08:17 PM
Post Strangles?

Patches has developed a lump on the left bottom of her jowl that like split open and one right in the middle of her jowls but its not split open. My vet says she might have a mild case of strangles. He didn't come out to see her yet, only a phone call. He said there's really nothing you can do for it now, other horses could now become infected with it. But how do horses pick up strangles and is there anyway to prevent them/treat them? Thanks.
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    09-20-2010, 08:25 PM
Green Broke
As far as I know, strangles can come from alot of different things. New horses coming in, going to shows with horses that may carry it, and I think your horse will be more prone to it once it gets it. I could be wrong. I would google it. Sorry that this happened. If it were my horse, I would do everything to get info on strangles and go from there. I'm sure you will get alot on here but me, I like to look it up too.
    09-20-2010, 09:50 PM
How is your horse housed? Is she boarded? If so, it is probably too late to avoid spreading it to other horses but extreme care must be taken now that the abscess has opened. She should be fed last and if possible only handled by one person who uses a foot bath and does not handle any other horses after her.

Strangles is extremely contagious, especially once the abscesses open up. As far as how she got it, if there is a history of it on the farm any of the horses could be asymptomatic carriers.

For prevention, there is a vaccine but it isn't extremely effective. It does reduce the risk and vaccinated horses who come down with Strangles often have only a mild case of the disease. There are a lot of risks associated with the vaccine and so it should be a case by case decision whether or not to give it. I would DEFINITELY call your vet back and ask how he/she thinks you should manage your mare to avoid infecting any other horses (since your vet will be familiar with the layout of the barn, etc. they will be able to come up with a good quarantine plan).

Antibiotics are generally not given to treat Strangles unless the horse is extremely ill. Once the abscess closes over she should start feeling better but will be contagious for up to a month and will always have the possibility of becoming a carrier horse.
    09-21-2010, 12:12 AM
To add on, Strangles is passes via direct contact. That is, sniffing noses with an infected horse, or sharing the same water bucket, or even petting an infected horse and then petting another. It is not passed through Mosquitos or biting insects.
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    09-21-2010, 12:24 AM
If the vet seriously considers it to be strangles, I am a bit puzzled as to why he hasn't come to take a look and to quarantine! Strangles can run a muck through a stable. It is generally just a nasty infection that spreads like wildfire...usually leaving your horse off work for quite some time. It rarely kills but if left unchecked, it can become dangerous. Do you board? If so you better tell your BO that your horse may have strangles. They need to be seperated!
    09-21-2010, 01:15 AM
Ah yes Ricci, great points! I kind of left that key detail of direct contact and equipment out huh? Definitely do not allow sharing of water buckets and if they fill with a hose, don't let the hose come anywhere near your horse or her buckets come near spigots or you'll spread it to everyone else.

And Corino is right too, you should definitely plan on lots of rest for the next several weeks. I'm also a little puzzled that the vet didn't come out to confirm and see for herself just how sick your mare is.
    09-21-2010, 01:39 AM
Good advice from everyone else on quarantine and such. I just wanted to mention that antibiotics are generally only reserved for the most severe cases where the horse's life is actually in danger. Most others are simply allowed to run their course. Strangles in horses is kinda like chicken pox in people; once they fight it off, they are not likely to ever get it again even if they are directly exposed. However, you should have her tested after she has healed up to make sure that she fought off all of the infection and isn't a carrier.
    09-21-2010, 01:42 AM
We have a horse at the barn now who had ******* strangles which is NO fun at all and in his case was life threatening. He was a very sick boy who made a full recovery. The barn he was boarded at the time is notorious for having strangles...they just never get rid of it.
    09-21-2010, 01:49 AM
Yep, it gets down in the ground and on the walls and horses continue to be exposed to it constantly in a place like that. Plus, some of them that have a very mild case will often go completely unnoticed. With the area that I live in, I don't have to worry about them too much. I mean, they have worked their way through my herd twice (got some of them the first time and the rest the second time) but I am secluded enough that I don't really have to worry about quarantine and with our setup, all the horses are exposed to each other constantly. We just watch real close to make sure none of them get bad sick and let it go.
    09-21-2010, 08:01 AM
Lots of great advice here!

Let me add that you can spread strangles on your clothes and such. Do not handle your horse and go to any other facility. Go home and change and wash up before visiting any other barns.

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