Strangles - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 10 Old 10-13-2012, 07:33 PM Thread Starter
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Strangles

I live in New Hampshire and I am trying to have my friends horse, Diamond, who lives in Maryland, to come up here since I live at a barn. I had told my boss the other day that Diamond had Strangles earlier this year (I later found out he had it around May). I have done research on it, since I don't know much about it. I do know that Diamond was off for 2 months. My boss had called her vet and he said something about he might be a carrier for a year? That is when I started doing my research, and I can't find anywhere that he can be a carrier for a year. He had the normal strangles. He is out with other horses and no other horses have gotten it, so without a test to see if he is a carrier, I don't know if he is or not.

Basically what I am asking is what is your experience with a horse that has/had strangles. And some basic info on strangles. The sites I have found has a lot of medical terminology that I don't totally understand, so I prefer lamens terms.
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post #2 of 10 Old 10-14-2012, 01:56 PM
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Horses that have had strangles can become lifelong carriers. Horses have what are called "guttural pouches" which are big pockets right behind their jawbones. Inside these pouches are where the strangles bacteria can live for years and years inside what are called chondroids- basically hardened balls of puss. The only way to know if a horse has chondroids is to have a veterinarian pass a camera ("scope") up the nose and into the pouch to look for them. Most horses do not become carriers but some can. Also the strangles vaccines (both injectable and intranasal) are not particularly good but some barns still require them. Hope this info helps!
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post #3 of 10 Old 10-15-2012, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, thats basically what my boss had said.

So if they aren't a carrier, they can be around other horses without any chance of any other horse getting it?
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post #4 of 10 Old 10-15-2012, 06:28 PM
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yes but you'd have to scope them and probably run a PCR to be totally sure they weren't a carrier. It would be costly but might be worth the peace of mind for you and the new barn owner
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post #5 of 10 Old 10-15-2012, 07:05 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, thats what my boss was saying, that it can be a little costy. Do you know around how much? I know different areas and states have different prices, but i it can be an estimate.
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post #6 of 10 Old 10-16-2012, 10:41 PM
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Rough estimate 200-500$
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post #7 of 10 Old 10-17-2012, 12:40 AM
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Few if any horses carry the Strangles bacteria without having a positive Strep culture from swabbing their cheek or nostril. The other thing we have done is to do a simple and cheap CBC (complete blood test). These are not nearly as expensive as having a horse scoped. Any horse harboring the Step Bacteria is going to have an elevated white count.

I have doctored herds of horses through at least 8 or 10 major Strangles outbreaks (including outbreaks caused by rogue strains that were not protected by Vaccinations) and have always been able to identify any carriers. I have not had one single horse spread Strangles after I was satisfied they were clean. I have always been able to attack Strangles aggressively in the horses that needed it and have thus avoided latent carriers and mortalities. Since it is a Bacterial Strep infection, I have not found it that difficult to handle.

If this were my situation (and I have had identical situations) where an incoming horse had recently recovered from Strangles, I would simply pull a CBC and see if his white count has returned to normal. If it is elevated at all, I would insist that he be put on 10 days of Penicillin and retested before he came into my barn. I have just never seen a horse's white blood cells lie if there any latent Strangles bacteria hiding somewhere. You could also do a nasal swab (or cheek swab), but Strep bacteria can hide in other places beside the Guteral Pouches.

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post #8 of 10 Old 10-17-2012, 01:10 AM
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Cherie, respectfully, carriers can be completely asymptomatic. This includes having a completely normal CBC and chemistry. It is not common but it occurs. Treating an elevated white count with Penicillin makes no sense. How do you know the count is not simply an inflammatory leukogram? How do you know that it is due to a bacterium at all? How do you know that bacteria is sensitive to Penicillin? Additionally the vaccines are pretty weak and do not so much prevent disease, but rather limit the severity of the infection. A vaccinated horse who becomes infected with strep equi and develops strangles did not necessarily become infected with a "rogue" strain, but not all vaccines are very effective and strangles is one example of this.

What would you be doing with that nasal or cheek swab? Culture? PCR? These are important thoughts. I have a lot of respect for your experience and knowledge, however the comments here are a little misguided. The OP's concern (or rather their BO's concern) is assurance that the horse is not an asymptomatic carrier of strep equi. A normal white count does not ensure this, nor does an elevated count indicate only infection.

I am not trying to pick a fight or damage your reputation, just trying to help the OP get the most accurate information regarding their specific concerns.

Last edited by tealamutt; 10-17-2012 at 01:13 AM.
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post #9 of 10 Old 10-17-2012, 07:25 AM Thread Starter
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Unfourtantely my boss told me last night that he could not come here until at least a year from when he got it since his owner didn't not put him on antibiotics but she is going to talk to her vet again because she really wants it to work out.

Since he wasn't on antibiotics is there still a chance he won't be a carrier?
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post #10 of 10 Old 10-17-2012, 11:33 AM
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Some researchers and vets feel ntibiotics can sometimes create a carrier situation or cause ******* strangles (which is strangles in an unusual place other than the lymph nodes by the jaw). Any way you slice it, if the horse had strangles, they can become a carrier. Usually they will stop shedding within a few months but if they harbor it in the guttural pouches it can be years.
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