Strangles in Horses

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Strangles in Horses

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    03-27-2012, 12:34 AM
Strangles in Horses

Just recently, my whole herd has gotten over strangles. None died, thank God, it wasn't that serious type. It has been quarantined with all of our horses having shots/vaccines and such. We found out early that it was the type most susceptible to penicillin and smart us, it was the first thing we gave to them! So the horses only had mild cases, except for our new horse and her stablemate. We believe the strangles was contracted at our local barn which we used over the winter. We found out that some others who have gone to the barn have gotten it too so we quickly spread the word and after that, there was no more cases.
So what are your guy's experiences with strangles? Please do share, I want some one to talk to about this.
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    03-27-2012, 02:22 AM
My now 2y/o Belgian gelding had strangles when he was g months old. He was weaned young so lost a lot of the antibody protection from his dam. We had bought a new horse at auction who seemed healthy, but I quarentined him anyway. My husband, in his infinite wisdom, thought the horse was lonely and so turned him out with the other two horses one day. My QH mare did not get the sickness but my colt did. Poor little guy had no energy and ended up with a big abcess under his throat latch that we had to lance and drain and keep clean. I cleaned the draining abcess 4 times a day, penecilin was of no help to him so we just did our best to keep him as comfortable as possible. I disinfected the barn daily with a bleach and water mixtyre in a spray bottle. Stalls were stripped and disinfected daily for a few weeks. No horses were allowed on or off the property for a good 2 months and for 2 months we made people wash their hands before and after being in the barn. He had a cough for a few months after the initial infection and abcess were gone as he was recovering. He is now healthy and happy and I am VERY cautious... and divorced ;)
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    03-27-2012, 09:02 AM
We haven't had any strangles, but daughter's trainer's herd did. She nearly lost her Arab filly to it - the abcess was putting too much pressure on the windpipe and she couldn't breath. Vet had to come out and lance it - thought they were going to have to trach her, but she got better once the abcess began to drain better and the swelling started going down.

We had dryland distemper hit our herd. Dryland distemper = pidgeon fever. Not nearly as serious as strangles, but it does cause abcesses - sometimes, as in our herd, multiple abcesses on the lower neck and chest.

There is absolutely nothing, other than good supportive care, that could be done for our bunch - keeping the abcesses open and draining was the big thing. We did spray the abcesses with blue kote to keep the flies away. It was awful watching them lose weight and just stand with their heads down, moping day after day. Eventually, they got better, though they looked like crap for a long time.
    03-27-2012, 10:40 AM
As already noted Strangles can spread through an entire barn or where multiples of horses are located. It is a highly contagious illness and the bacterial drainage of abcesses can live in the soil for years, but not cause reoccurence of the illness in horses already recovered from the sickness. Thus any horses not having had Strangles can get sick from grazing on previously infected grassland/pastures. It is highly recommended that any new horse be quarantined for at least a couple of weeks before being introduced to an established group of horses.

The worst and usually fatal form of Strangles is called ******* Strangles. This is were the abcesses burst to the inside of the horse's neck and throatlatch area.
    03-27-2012, 03:09 PM
We had a horse at my old barn get it. Oh boy it was nasty...snotty grossness everywhere. He was quarantined right away and the 19 other horses got vaccinated for it. Nobody else came down with it and the other horse pulled through.

barn, horses, strangles

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