strangles in horsesgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
Greetings, We recently purchased a young horse. We brought her home and stupidly put her in with our other horses........dumb! We knew better. We thought since she was alone with cows and had been, that she'd be fine. She developed a lump under her jaw, it got bigger and soon oozed yukky stuff. The vet was called and said she has strangles. We got on the internet and read what we could. My question-from your personal experience can the other 3 horses that are now coming down with strangles be ridden? If the kids only walked the horses-or is it better to leave them in the corral until they are better? We know that strangles can be fatal, or damaging-but how likely is that? Is there any herbal remedies that would help? The info we read on Internet said that it usually strikes young horses-but our 10 year old and 13 year old are getting it, as well as the 5 year old. We'd appreciate experienced horse people to comment on strangles not on our stupidity! Thanks, Kathy G.
-- Craig Giddings (email@example.com), August 10, 2000
i have not had a horse with strangles but i do know of others who have,i would not ride or work the herd in anyway. a friend lost her horse to it quickly and it spreads the same way. antibiotics clear it up i donot know which one and i believe you can transport it to other farms if cloths or hands are not cleaned,i think cows can get it also. i was wondering where did you get the horse? i am only asking this because i am going to new holland to get one and the strangles is my #1 fear,we have both a pony and calves. when talking to your vet i would also ask of other preventive shots you may want to get.
-- renee oneill (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 10, 2000.
the reason your older horses are getting strangles is because they have never had it. Once they get through where the abcess breaks and clears up they will be immune to strangles. You don't want to ride the horses because it will stress their immune system and make recovery harder. Make sure they eat and drink and are relaxed. don't give antibodics before the abcess breaks and drains. that will prevent this from happening and it needs to happen before recovery is complete. What you have to worry about is if the horses don't eat or drink because it is to sore to do so. If this happens then call your vet for advice. I had a 4 year old go through this recently and he had know problems with it. I raise my horses in a natural environment and I think this is why his immune system was working well.
-- Lynda (email@example.com), August 10, 2000.
All of them need need antibiotics, and the abcesses should be hot packed at least twice a day to encourage them to rupture and drain. Then they need to be keept clean to prevent serum scald. They need rest with good hay plenty of water. These horses will be resistant to strangles in the future, so at least there is some good news. Only debilitated animals run the risk of death from this desease (it also can cause abortion) so if you have any very young horses or senior citizens, keep an close eye on them Good Luck
-- Dianne (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 10, 2000.
We had an old paint mare come down with strangles. She was about 20 years old at the time. None of our other horses caught it and the mare recovered just fine. We didn't give her any special treatment, but I'm not saying you shouldn't. What does you vet say?
-- Mona (email@example.com), August 10, 2000.
I agree with just letting the strangles run their course. Hot pack will bring the abcess to a head but do not puncture it yourself, let it break open on it's own. (my one boss insisted on cutting open the lump. The next day, it opened on it's own next to the now closed cut. He horse was head shy after that from the cutting)
After it opens, you can rinse out the abcess by inserting a clean 20cc sryinge (no needle) filled with benedyne and warm water solution. The gross part is keeping the abcess open by picking off the scabs until it no longer drains. Using warm, wet compresses helps with that. And since the pressure is relieved, the horses usually don't mind.
The only time I remember having to medicate a horse was a 24 year old pony who wouldn't get better. If you try to medicate before the abcess breaks, something I know as bastard strangles happens where the infection cannot come to a head. One barn I was at had one of those and every single horse came down with it because of that horse.
One last thing. I was told but am not sure if this is true, that strangles can stay in a surrounding area for a long time. Example, a stall of a sick horse. Anyone hear of that?
-- Dee (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 11, 2000.
Several years ago a friend of mine's horses developed strangles after having been run in chuck wagon races. They caught it from some of the other horses there as they were all watering from the same creek. Anyway, the vet put the horses on antibiotics immediately. They were not to be used in any way and kept quiet as possible so as not to raise their body temperatures more than necessary. The vet also told him it would be OK to use his horses in later races, but not to house other horses on the same pasture for 6 months. You really need to call a vet. As pointed out earlier, the horse could die. If you are not able to afford a vet visit, just tell the vet up front and ask if you can buy some medicine. Most vets understand the situation.
-- Green (email@example.com), August 13, 2000.
My stock have never had strangles, but none of my vets will give the vaccine. Some horses react much more violently to the vaccine than they do to the disease.
Friends up in South Dakota say strangles there is as common as a cold, and no one does anything but let it run its course.
Another friend, now dead, had some concoction he whipped up and put in the holes of the sores. The stock was over the disease in a few days. No, I don't know the recipe, sorry.
-- ~Rogo (firstname.lastname@example.org), August 19, 2000.
Craig -- by this time the strangles have probably run their course...or will be going full-bore. We had an epidemic run thru a few years ago, hit a half-dozen barns. Every case will be different. I hope you have a good vet who specializes in horses. You can lose old horses to strangles more easily than young ones, however, I had one mare running a temperature so high that we had to watch her 'round the clock . It is best to let them open on their own, and yes, flushing with Betadine and water with a syringe and good cleanliness and supportive nursing is best.
If others come down with it, however, have your vet check them. The pus that is forming can literally 'strangle' a horse to death if it works back into the tissues instead of erupting (which is why you hot pack to bring it out -- epsom salts in hot water). Your horse can also wind up as a 'reservoir' for the disease and continue to pass it on, or it can migrate to pus-filled pockets elsewhere in the body that will neccessitate a WHALE of a vet bill to save. That is why they are put on the antibiotics (make sure to go full course or it will be that much worse), and usually pain-killers or something to bring the fever down.
Generally speaking, if your horse truly gets strangles -- STALL REST. Turn-out in good weather in sun is helpful. My horses were so sick that I don't think they could have stirred to save their lives and didn't eat or drink for days,dropping pounds like crazy. My old horse never got it,so he had some immunity. It can re-occur.
Spray down the stalls used by infected horses with water/Clorox solution (strip out all bedding first) and let dry out for a couple of days before you use it for any other horses. Same thing goes for shared tack; bits,halters,ropes,water buckets. Don't let them share a drinking trough until they have totally recovered. You'll save yourself a lot of labor by observing strict hygiene.
I queried my vet and he said that a horse that has had strangles (wild strain) will likely have immunity from all strains longer than a horse that has been immunized for it. He doesn't routinely vaccinate for it unless there is an outbreak like we had, and generally, then it's too late to vaccinate if it's in your barn anyway. Quarantine each horse as it gets sick. Take temperatures on horses (all) NOW so that you will have a base reading to compare to. Remember that their temperature will likely drop a bit at night and on cool days, and rise a bit with hot weather.
It can be scarey, but with good nursing, not a horse in the area died or suffered complications. Best luck.
-- Julie Froelich (email@example.com), August 28, 2000.
Here's a great website that helped me to understand better.
I have not owned a horse for quite a few years but I have a great amount of empathy for you and your horses.
-- Linda Rasmussen (LynMontana@aol.com), August 20, 2001.
Well, this is part answer, part question. We have rescued horses for 8 years, and have gotten numerous cases of "shipping fever" (which appears very similar, with snotty nose, cough, depression, lack of energy, and lack of interest in food). However, I just got a horse that indeed appears to have strangles. I notice the difference because of the swollen lymph glands, and swelling inder chin. To the original poster, I am sure that you are long over the problem, but I would definately not ride or work the horse. Same as you would not want to do anything when you have the flu, and thee is a fever, so work will only raise the temperature.
Now, for the questions. This is the first horse I ever got that has strangles. I just read all the replies on here and notice there are several conflicts in opinion, particularly when to give antibiotics. My vet has not yet come out, because at first I thought it was just the usual shipping fever that well over half of the horses get at sale barns. Two days ago, I noticed the swelling, so I called the vet, and told the vet that it is strangles. He agreed that I was correct. He has been real busy so he has not come yet, and suggested that I do the work myself (I often do it, because he knows that I know how to handle most things, and that I need to save money since this is a rescue center). Anyhow, he told me to get the horse on antibiotics immediately, and try to drain the chin abcesses. Well, this is a 4 year old stallion, who I just rescued, and who was never handled. Even touching this horse has been tough, but when he got real sick, he came to me, and has ever since. But, giving shots, and cutting open the chin is pushing things for this horse. So, the vet gave me an oral antibiotic to mix with feed. For awhile he did not want to eat, but has since begun. So, I am giving antibiotics BEFORE the abscess drains, but that is the vets advice..... I just started the antibiotic, but have the vet on standby in case this needs to be drained.
Another person said to stall the horse. Well, doing this would affect every horse here, so I am keeping him alone in the back yard, away from other equines. However, that means no shelter, and of course we had to get heavy rains, then cold weather. I was concerned, but the next day he looked much better. I think the cold rain actually brought his temperature down, and the day after the rain he began to eat again. So, another conflict to those who think they need to be stalled.
So, this is just some of my comments at this point.
Any continued useful suggestions appreciated !!!
-- Central States Horse Rescue (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 02, 2002.