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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I have been taking care of a two year old filly who came from a feedlot along with three of her herdmates (supposedly all four came from a QH ranch in Eastern Washington state).

Approximately two months ago this filly started having trouble moving, and was dragging her right hind leg. My first reaction to this was that she was possibly having neurological problems. I already happened to have my vet scheduled to look at one of my other horses, and added her to the list to be seen. The day before the vet was to visit, she blew (spectacularly) a very nasty abscess in her hip. She was treated, given antibiotics, and seemed to be doing well. However, the wound for the abscess kept draining a small amount of pus each day, and eventually I contacted my vet to do a pus culture.

She, and one of her herdmates have been with me since early October of 2014, and have never shown any signs of having strangles. It was a shock to me and my vet to discover that the culture came back positive for Streptococcus equi.

My vet, after consulting with other vets, has suggested that this filly may not have actual 'B a s t a r d strangles', but may have had her open wound contaminated with Streptococcus equi (from an unknown source, but my horses had gone to a show just a week previously, so that is the likely connection).

She is running only a very slight fever, is not stocking up, is eating heartily, and overall appears to actually be in good health except for the small draining abscess which is discharging approximately 1/4 cup of pus daily. It's being aggressively cleaned daily, and she has just been restarted on antibiotics to see if it will clear up. My vet will be back out in two weeks to run an ultrasound, palpate her abdomen, and do a nasal swab.

My question: has anyone else had a similar case where the horse did not appear to have actually had 'strangles' but yet had an abscess which cultured out to be Streptococcus equi?
 

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It's normally in the lymph nodes of the head/neck but there is also strangles which can be found in other areas. That can live in soil for so maybe she received a shot or something & the organism got in there.

ETA: sorry I should have read your whole post before answering.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes, but has anyone SEEN a case where the horse apparently never had classic strangles, but just went to b a s t a r d strangles? Anyone able to ask their vet if the vet has ever seen or heard of this happening? All the literature I have been able to read has suggested that the regular strangles took place first, then turned into b a s t a r d strangles later.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Originally we thought that she had taken a bad fall and might have possibly had a bone chip or piece of wood in her hip. We were not able to confirm this because the volume of pus draining was so great that any foreign body would have been flushed out. There were probably several gallons of pus which drained from this abscess, and it left under great force.
 

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Originally we thought that she had taken a bad fall and might have possibly had a bone chip or piece of wood in her hip. We were not able to confirm this because the volume of pus draining was so great that any foreign body would have been flushed out. There were probably several gallons of pus which drained from this abscess, and it left under great force.
I feel bad for your horse but I would loved to have seen that drained.
 

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Any chance that she was given IM vaccines , at the same time as an internasal strangles vaccine?
The internasal strangles vaccine, is live attenuated, and can cause a local abscess, if a needle, for instance, used for other Im shots, gets contaminated
I would think, if actual Strep. E was on site, the horse would have presented with typical strangles
 

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Yes, I have seen a horse without a case of "classic strangles" but with B**tard Strangles. The mare presented with lethargy that progressed to neurological symptoms and died. She had S. equi abscesses in her brain.

She was exposed when a horse was brought into the neighbor's pasture from a sale barn and later showed symptoms of Strangles.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Smilie, no, she was not given the intranasal vaccine, although my vet did suggest that the hip abscess could have been caused originally by an infection of a vaccine injection.

Ryle, thank you for that information. Other than the abscess still draining just a tad, the filly is not showing any other signs of b a s t a r d strangles, so we are treating with antibiotics since we don't have anything to lose at this point.
 

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From the Merck Vet. Manual:
QUOTE:
Metastatic strangles (“b astard strangles”) is characterized by abscessation in other lymph nodes of the body, particularly the lymph nodes in the abdomen and, less frequently, the thorax. S equi is the most common cause of brain abscess in horses, albeit rare.

When a yard I had my horses on had a strangles outbreak one of the horses there had 'b astard' strangles but as far as I can recall didn't have the typical type symptoms that the others who caught it had as they didn't realize he was infected when he became really ill - some of the older horses had no symptoms at all, some just had snotty nose flu like symptoms for a couple of days and the 4 horses (one was mine) that got the abscess in the throat area were all under 7 years old
 

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Discussion Starter #13
So it sounds as if this is very rare (b a s t a r d strangles being uncommon enough as it is--my vet had only seen one, yes, ONE case in the ten years she's been a vet) but does happen.

I don't think we will ever know where she picked it up, and I am just hoping that she makes it out alive. She is currently on antibiotics, with me aggressively flushing the wound in the morning and evening in order to keep it open and not heal in such a way that the pus gets trapped again. I'll know more in two weeks when my vet does an ultrasound and nasal swab.

For any vet techs--when you have seen cases like this, have you done nasal swabs and found Streptococcus equi in the nasal cavities? Or has the S. equi confined itself to the part of the body with the abscess?
 

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The horse I mentioned had the abscess internally so it wasn't 'seen' and when it did burst all the toxins flooded straight into the bloodstream as nothing could escape outwards. He didn't survive
With your horse - if it is b astard strangles and not just a case of a wound being infected by nasal discharge from a horse with strangles at least its burst outwards in the same way that the ones in the throat do which means you have a far better chance of treating it and keeping it drained
My mare made a complete recovery and the tiny scar she was left with was barely visible which was amazing considering the size of the opening when it burst
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks Jaydee. Our only problem is that the abscess opened up at the point of the hip (we originally thought she had fallen and perhaps had a bone chip or piece of wood as a locus for infection), and my vet could not probe downward more than about an inch and a half, or just under 4 cm. From the several litres of pus which drained, it's very deep, and it's not able to drain with gravity helping it along--the pus is being pushed out when she makes sudden movements.
 

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Can't help you out with info about your particular case but on occasion when I've dealt with an infected wound I packed them with drawing salve to drain the infection, including one where it had to pull it up out of a rear leg because the wound was up in his inner thigh but the infection was settling causing his lower leg to swell.
 

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I see what you mean Sweeney Road - That's tough. I hope you see some improvement soon and she pulls through it OK
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Update!

A PCR test was performed and came back negative. No strangles or b a s t a r d strangles. Original diagnosis of either 'vaccination' abscess or sequestrum still stands.
 
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