The Horse Forum banner

1 - 18 of 18 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I purchase a lovely gaited gelding out of a local kill pen on may 3rd. I've never done this before and I put him up in my round pen far from the other horses. For 30 days he didnt show any signs. No fever. No swollen lymp nodes. He did have clear nasal discharge that came and went. My other horses all had that too, the allergies and the dust are bad this year. Anyway I talked to my vets and they said he should be fine. So I started introducing him just shy of the 30 day mark. He was put in with a buddy and could sniff over the fence with the others. June 3rd I opened a new jug of bug spray and he and most of all of my horses had an allergic reaction to the spray. I treated him and couple of the others who had it worse with dex and banamine. By thurs the 7th he started draining a yellow green slime out of his left nostril, same side as the worst of the reaction (long weeping welts along his neck). I thought it was just his body draining the toxins as he didnt have a fever, good appetite, no swollen lymp nodes, etc. So I decided to wait. Well it didnt clear up the following week so I had the vet out on the 14th. He ruled out sinus infection and pneumonia, got a swab for culture. His gut figured it was strep zoo so told me to start him on 16cc excede every 3 days for 4 doses. Unfortunately on 17th the results came back positive for strangles and a staph bacteria. So now my entire herd has been exposed to him and so I qt him and the buddy I put in with him... kinda figured at this point it was too late as he had been with him for over a week with the snotty nose, sharing water and hay nets and space. I've been monitoring my others daily with temps and checking their nose and lymp nodes. So far they seem to be normal. However yesterday I gave my new boy his final round of excede and I noticed his buddy had swelling below his ears that is not normal. His temp was normal but given his exposure I'm sure hes coming down with it as well.

I've just been worried sick... literally havent been able to eat much at all and having anxiety attacks about this. Mostly it's over the vet costs and the potential to lose my horses over this nasty disease. And my best friend and I often trailer together with our horses to trail ride (havent since this nasty nose business) but now I'm afraid my horses will infect her horses after qt. I've read up on the golden standard now is to do at least 3 nasal swabs at different times and they all have to be negative to at least have a good idea that the horse is clear, and according to my vet bill for just the one nasal swab it would cost me 150 per swab... that's 450 per horse that gets sick.... And if they arent clear I would have to take them to another vet to do a scope and flushes... this would cost me $1500-2000+ depending on how long and how many flushes. If I had to do this for each of my 7 horses I would be utterly bankrupt. And not to mention my husband has been giving me grief for buying this horse and I understand because of the potential costs and the stress I've been under has been hard on both of us. I'm just absolutely devastated and I'm terrified and I could just really use some support. Im totally alone when it comes to the health and care of my animals and I feel like such a horrible horse mom for being naive and ill informed. Has anyone else gone through this? If so how did you cope? What did you do to protect your other horses and other peoples horses? Thank you.
 

Attachments

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,559 Posts
I just wanted to say, I don't think you should beat yourself up here. From what I've read, most places recommend that you quarantine new horses for three weeks IF POSSIBLE, or at least 10 days. You far exceeded that. And you were trying to do a good thing by giving this horse a new chance. I can't really give you any advice, but I just wanted to say you shouldn't be beating yourself up.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
How old is the buddy you put him in with? Any clue on the rescue's age? Have all of your others had strangles vaccine? Following as I always vaccinate my youngsters til age 5. I have never had to deal with strangles (knock on wood), but can't a once infected horse carry the disease in a dormant state? Forever?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
12,001 Posts
I agree I also understand that some horses can be carries for strangles but be asympomatic. Could be the snotty nose is something else. Regardless if he is positive it's possible your other horse has it now too. I'd be in close touch with your vet. There's all sorts of requirements necessary with this. Don't beat yourself up, you did all the right things and just had horrible luck. Is that him on the bottom? He's amazing. I hope everything goes smoothly for you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
The rescue is aged by teeth around 12-15. My horse hes with is 23.... so I'm really worried my old boy will be ok. Honestly my vet didnt reccomend me using the vaccine due to him seeing many horses still get strangles anyway and or having adverse reactions. So the only ones I've ever had vaccinated was my 10 and 14 year old geldings when the went off to training years ago. So none of mine are utd on strangles vaccine. And now that I have an active infection it's better to not give them the vaccine as it can cause increases chances of purpura hemorrhagia(?)... from what I've read youd want to have titers pulled to check level of immunity before giving them the vaccine. And I've been hearing mixed info on carriers and shedders. Most say qt horses for at least 30 days after the last sick horse doesnt show any symptoms. But I've heard they can still shed up to 6 weeks or longer. They say carriers are mostly horses who have puss still in their guttural pouches that contains live bacteria but they cant purge it and that usually flushing helps to clear that out... but that requires multiple flushes and hospital stay... and my vet is old school and idk how well read up he is on strangles cuz he told me to wait only 2 weeks after last signs and told me not to bother with the swabs as they're costly and they arent a 100% guarentee to not be carriers... and it's even more expensive to do the guttural pouch scope and flushes... so I'm at a total loss.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,334 Posts
I'll tell you what OK State Veterinary School did when I had my barn full of strangles. I bought a horse at a private sale, brought her home, 30 days QT just like you did. Nothing. Turned her out, and BAM! lumps under the chin and snotty yellow green gunk out of her nose. I knew it was strangles before I ever pulled her out of the pasture. I had 8 horses in the big barn down with it. Two mares had already been moved to the foaling barn, so we locked down the big barn and no one who went in there crossed the line to the foaling barn. We installed foot baths in front of all entrances and exits to both barns. I posted on the gate that the farm was on QT and no one was to enter past the gate. Employees left their vehicles outside the gate. Employees stepped in the foot bath at the gate before coming in further. At the feed barn, they put on DuPont Tychem suits before working in the barns or with horses.

The stallion developed b*st*rd (internal) strangles, so was in isolation QT in the ICU at OSU Vet Hospital for 30 days, with a trach in his throat. Touch and go for a while.

What we did for the cultures was every horse twice and the mare who brought it on the property and the stallion 3X (since he was the sickest). Once everyone checked clear, the QT was lifted and we resumed our normal schedule of training, trail rides and shows. During QT (which since everyone came down sick on their own schedule, ended up being ALL summer and into the fall) there were no horses in and no horses out of the property. I took all deliveries at the gate, no UPS or FedEx or USPS allowed past the gate.

Footgear worn into the main barn was left on the property and disposed of once everyone was clear. A sign in & out log was kept at the gate for every person who came on the property. Anyone who came in past the gate was advised to go home and shower and change clothes after leaving, before they went anywhere else and especially before they went to another farm.

Thanks to the strict management of the QT, the pregnant mares were not infected, nor were their new born foals once they delivered. Expensive? OMG, yes, it was horrendous. But it kept everything contained to this property and not spread all over the state.


The cultures are expensive but worth every dime. If you have a chronic carrier, you want to know it because any kind of stress can cause them to become active shedders and re-infect your herd or infect other horses (say on a trail ride). If you're able to contain it to just 2 horses, then I would do whatever I had to, to give the gold standard of care to both horses and insure you don't have a chronic carrier. It will pay off in the long run.

Now, when I bring in a new horse, it's 60 days QT, no exceptions.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
171 Posts
Hoping the positive swab of strangles is only because he is a carrier and not actively contagious. The presence of Staph might be a good sign that this is what is causing all of the problems. I believe Staph can naturally occur on the skin, and with the reaction to flyspray it may have caused a huge flare up. At least Staph can be treated with abx. Hoping for the best for you and your horses. It sounds like your quarantine was plenty long enough, and this could happen to anyone bringing a new horse home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I'm definitely trying to go with what I've been reading up on line as the majority and take what my vet says with a grain of salt. My vet thinks it's highly likely hes a carrier and basically told me my options to protect my herd was to either put all my money into him get the flushes done and even then it's not a 100% guarentee or cut my losses and either euthanize or dump him back in the kill pen... which I totally abhor. This horse is such a lovely boy, he rides well and never offered to buck and he is by far the smoothest horse I have ever ridden. If I was just riding and trailering by myself that's one thing but I dont most of the time and the last thing I want is to spread this horrible disease more to my friends and their horses. As for getting a second opinion I've tried that and gotten no response from the other vets in my area so that's why I'm reaching out on here for advice on what others have gone through.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks everyone for the support. I'm sorry dream catcher you went through it but so thankful for you sharing your experience. I'm hoping that Roman (the new guy) is/was a low shedder and that Beauty (his buddy) has an easy time of it with this and my others dont get it. I'm always taking care of my two sick ones last. And if I go near their gate i always wash my arms heavily with rubbing alcohol or virkon. And wash my boots with a bleach wash. But first I check my horses, their temps, their noses, and lymp nodes. They all have clear nasal discharge that comes and goes but so far nothing alarming. I'm hoping they're able to fight off what exposure they had to him. It makes me sick thinking I wasnt as careful about contamination before.. I honestly didnt think it could be strangles. 😞 Anyway I've heavily sprayed down gates and everywhere he and my herd could have interacted with Virkon. I have a foot bath that I use whenever I leave an area. I should probably do two.. And two sets of boots, one for good horses and one for not... and average scrubs over my clothes when dealing with Roman and Beauty. I will invest in coveralls and a few more sets of boots. Two pairs for the farm and a set for work as I work on a dairy farm next door and I've just been using old boots that have holes so makes my feet nasty with the bleach water... I know not good.. this week has been hell so I'm trying....I usually put two towels on my seat for my truck and bring a fabric bag to keep my dirty clothes in to throw it in the wash when I get home and shower. And I spray everything I touch with Virkon. Like I said I am totally on my own in this and its daunting and I'm becoming a total germaphobe.

Dreamcatcher
So all horses on your farm got swabbed twiceOr just the sick ones? And the really sick ones 3x? How long did you wait to swab them and what were the intervals between swabs? Did any of them have a positive and have to be further quarantined or did you have to do the guttural pouches? Was that mare of yours a carrier? You've not had any issues since? Do you ever worry that the horses werent shedding at the time of the swab cuz they werent stressed? This is why my vet wasnt convinced that the swabs really work as they might not be shedding those 3 times and sometime in the future they start shedding again when stressed. I really do think I will go at least like you said the swabs its just a lot of money for a poor farmer girl. Lol

I am trying to remain hopeful that Roman isnt a carrier but would have become sick with or without the reaction like your mare did after the 30 days. They say the bug can incubate up to 21 days before showing symptoms. He would have shown symptoms at week 5 I believe. Could it be possible that he has had vaccines in the past and his body was fighting it off? Guess I won't know for sure unless I do the guttural pouch scope to see if he has the puss in there. I suppose.

What do you suggest for general care for a horse with strangles? I've never had to care for a horse with it before and I feel like with Roman he was "simple" as he didnt have the abcesses burst. What kind of feeding regime? I unfortunately have a small number of small squares and typically feed large rounds in a hay net. So I know that's not ideal for keeping their head low to drain. I keep banamine injectable to give orally and I have bute powder on hand I can give via feed or syringe. How do you hot pack abcesses?

My barn is an old wood structure with concrete floors. What's the best method of cleaning and disinfecting everything? Can I wash all halters and lead ropes like I do my clothes in a washing machine a couple times and hang dry in the sun? Stuff that he had some indirect contact with?
Thank you.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
14,334 Posts
Dreamcatcher
So all horses on your farm got swabbed twiceOr just the sick ones? And the really sick ones 3x? How long did you wait to swab them and what were the intervals between swabs? Did any of them have a positive and have to be further quarantined or did you have to do the guttural pouches? Was that mare of yours a carrier? You've not had any issues since? Do you ever worry that the horses werent shedding at the time of the swab cuz they werent stressed? This is why my vet wasnt convinced that the swabs really work as they might not be shedding those 3 times and sometime in the future they start shedding again when stressed. I really do think I will go at least like you said the swabs its just a lot of money for a poor farmer girl. Lol

I am trying to remain hopeful that Roman isnt a carrier but would have become sick with or without the reaction like your mare did after the 30 days. They say the bug can incubate up to 21 days before showing symptoms. He would have shown symptoms at week 5 I believe. Could it be possible that he has had vaccines in the past and his body was fighting it off? Guess I won't know for sure unless I do the guttural pouch scope to see if he has the puss in there. I suppose.

What do you suggest for general care for a horse with strangles? I've never had to care for a horse with it before and I feel like with Roman he was "simple" as he didnt have the abcesses burst. What kind of feeding regime? I unfortunately have a small number of small squares and typically feed large rounds in a hay net. So I know that's not ideal for keeping their head low to drain. I keep banamine injectable to give orally and I have bute powder on hand I can give via feed or syringe. How do you hot pack abcesses?

My barn is an old wood structure with concrete floors. What's the best method of cleaning and disinfecting everything? Can I wash all halters and lead ropes like I do my clothes in a washing machine a couple times and hang dry in the sun? Stuff that he had some indirect contact with?
Thank you.
Just the sick ones. The 2 pregnant mares had been pulled from the barn and into the foaling barn before the horse came here, so they hadn't gotten exposed. I waited a month after they stopped showing symptoms and then cultured everyone. If that 2nd one had NOT come up clear for anyone, then they'd have gotten a 3rd culture just like the original mare & the stallion did. The thought was that she had picked up the strangles from the stall, water buckets or the horses next to her at the sale. Then after the vets and I collaborated some, we decided that in case it wasn't any of that, then she might be a carrier. So to be really safe, we did a 3rd culture 2 months after the 2nd clean one. Same thing for the stallion, 1 culture to confirm strangles, then a month after he stopped showing symptoms, and then 3rd one 2 months after that. All of the sick horses tested clear and have had no more runny noses ever since (2016 to now).

General supportive care is all we gave. I kept them all in the barn, made sure they were eating & drinking and we let the abscesses burst on their own. I fed grass hay 24/7 availability, and their usual concentrates. I took temps every day, 2X/day, and if anyone went over 102, they got banamine or bute. If you don't have enough square bales, just pull hay off the round bales and put it in their stalls or wherever you have them contained.

I didn't hot pack the abscesses because that would have just added to their misery and IMO, don't think they'd have opened up all that much faster any how.

I threw away all halters and lead ropes that got used on the sick horses. The suits also got tossed at the end of the day, every day. I keep a big bottle hand sanitizer in the barn, so everyone can use it in between horses, still do it to this day. As for the barn, get a good sized bottle of Chlorhexadine (Nolvasan) and spray down the ceiling, walls, floors and aisles when they're all healthy again. I would be pulling their feed tubs, water buckets, hay buckets and washing them out with soapy water and final rinse with Nolvasan, daily. Let air dry and then do it again just to be sure.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,992 Posts
Chlorhexidine is cheap if you don't buy the name brand Nolvasan, that will save you some money.

Sorry you are going through this. It could be that he was immune or fighting off the infection, until the dexamethasone. You don't want to suppress the immune system if the horse has been exposed.

"Under field conditions, most organisms do not survive 96 hr." So your field kept horses might not develop infection, except for the buddy horse sharing a pasture.

There is no reason to assume your new horse will become a chronic carrier. Maybe he will, maybe not. Your other horses could become carriers too. Or not.

If you don't have money for multiple swabs on multiple horses, I would isolate and give several months of quarantine. Or only swab the infected horse. I don't know what PCR testing costs, but that might be more diagnostic of carrier status, as the swabs can miss the disease.

I wonder if you could just wait several months, then have the guttural pouches scoped and a pcr test done. Might be more cost effective?

You need a vet familiar with the disease and willing to consider your budget.

My fox trotter came from a kill pen. Could they still carry the disease after 2 years? I never had her tested...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,339 Posts
General supportive care is all we gave. I kept them all in the barn, made sure they were eating & drinking and we let the abscesses burst on their own. I fed grass hay 24/7 availability, and their usual concentrates. I took temps every day, 2X/day, and if anyone went over 102, they got banamine or bute. If you don't have enough square bales, just pull hay off the round bales and put it in their stalls or wherever you have them contained.

I didn't hot pack the abscesses because that would have just added to their misery and IMO, don't think they'd have opened up all that much faster any how.

I threw away all halters and lead ropes that got used on the sick horses. The suits also got tossed at the end of the day, every day. I keep a big bottle hand sanitizer in the barn, so everyone can use it in between horses, still do it to this day. As for the barn, get a good sized bottle of Chlorhexadine (Nolvasan) and spray down the ceiling, walls, floors and aisles when they're all healthy again. I would be pulling their feed tubs, water buckets, hay buckets and washing them out with soapy water and final rinse with Nolvasan, daily. Let air dry and then do it again just to be sure.
Dreamcatcher, I hugely respect the lengths that you go to care for your horses, especially when I read your posts regarding the strangles situation you had. I hope that one day I can be even half the horse owner that you are!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,105 Posts
A friend bought a TB mare last year, quarantined her for 30 days, and on day 41 she came down with strangles. Infected six other horses, because the vet said 'it couldn't be strangles after 30 days'. Well, it was. The disease ran its course through her herd with nobody having serious issues. Sick horses oozing snot were kept in one pen so that they didn't contaminate anything else. She had footbaths at the barn and put a gate across her driveway so nobody inadvertently entered or exited the barn area (neighbors stopping to visit, UPS man leaving boxes at the barn if nobody answered at the house, etc.)

The new mare was recommended to be swabbed to ensure she wasn't a carrier. She was swabbed 3x as she was purchased with the intention of being a show horse, and if she's a carrier, it's a lot bigger deal for a show horse around other horses than a pleasure horse that never leaves home. Mare tested clear on the final 2 swabs and has been fine since. Daughter's 4-H horse never got sick but was kept home for the summer anyway. Other horses were tested once about 90 days after symptoms resolved and cleared. She threw away the halters, blankets, buckets, and brushes etc. used on the sick horses, and washed everything else down with sanitizer and/or bleach several times. She had a set of boots in a footbath tray in the barn, and when she'd go to the barn, she'd put on those boots, and put them back in the tray and then put on her other shoes on to go back indoors so the boots used with the horses never left the barn. She got a veterinary jumpsuit to wear in the barn, and it also never left the barn. She strictly forbade her kids from being in the barn, so she was the only one caring for the animals, and the farm dogs and cats were kenneled so they weren't tracking any germs from sick horses to the neighbor's healthy horses. None needed anything other than supportive care. Neighbor's horses never did get sick.

It was expensive, worrisome, and a hassle, but if you have horses, sooner or later you will likely end up with strangles. I've heard of several horses coming down with it after the 30 day quarantine, so I would quarantine anything future for 60 days just to be safe. Our area vets are now recommending auction/kill pen/dealer horses be quarantined a minimum of 45 days as a matter of course. With more and more horses traveling the country from kill pens and auctions, they are seeing a lot more strangles than they saw 10 years ago. The good thing is that most horses recover with no lasting effects and nothing other than supportive care.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
346 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Everyone, I cannot express to you enough how you've helped me. As I said I am alone in this fight and so hearing how others have gone through it has helped me greatly. I've just been praying for a miracle that my horses dont get sick. That God willing they're able to fight it off and are immune to it.

So last week as I was trying to figure out the best qt regimen that I can work with, Beauty and Roman i handled minimally and until I got a second thermometer I didnt want to cross contaminate so I just stuck with temping and fondling my "healthy" herd. So far no one has run temps. They've all fluctuated due to weather changes but no fevers. I've only seen 3 horses have 1 or 2 boogers or "dirty noses" that have come and gone and have otherwise nothing consistent. I know I mentioned beauty I thought had swelling but I've been temping him and hes been normal and theres been no swelling or nasal drainage. Praying that's a good sign.

But now my heart horse Dante is having a laminitis flare up and has to be stalled and iced his feet twice a day... and I'm a wreck over this as we fought so hard the previous year to over come this and a couple weeks ago I let them out for an hour on tall tall grass just so I could put another round bale out. That's the only significant change in his diet. Hay is grass mix. Just a cup of ration balancer with remission and a bit of flax, msm, and occasionally his gut supplements when we go riding to help manage ulcers. I'm just really at a loss and to be honest... I have been dealing with problems non stop with my horses I just feel like giving up. I know I cant but I'm just so tired of stuff going wrong. Please pray for me and my horses. Thank you all again for your advice and sharing your experiences. I really do appreciate it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,520 Posts
I don't have much to add....we had a couple horses come down with strangles in the racing barn. I can't remember the specifics, but I DO remember that the vet lacerated one of the horses to drain the lymph nodes. The one that was left alone actually healed much faster.

I'm sorry you are going through this and feel so alone. I know what that is like and understand how stressful it can be.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,600 Posts
Hoping all the troubles clear up sooner rather than later. Sometimes when it rains it pours and it doesn't seem as if there's an end to it in sight. When these times hit the only thing we can do is keep putting one foot in front of the other until we walk out the other side. Prayers for strength and healing being said.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9 Posts
I’ve just bought a horse and low and behold he came down with Strangles onlydays after I got him. He had thick yellowish discharge intermittently running from his nose but one symptom he did have that is never mentioned was the way he messily lapped at his water like how a dog drinks - which isn’t normal for horses.

He was given a course of oral antibiotics and had recovered within 3 weeks.

Good luck! 🙂
 
1 - 18 of 18 Posts
Top