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Strangles - what to do?

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  • #21
    I would put a call into your vet and see what they think you should do- they would probably know if there was a quarantine facility available and they would know the proper channels to go through if there was reporting necessary.
    "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
    So you might as well have a good time"

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    • #22
      This very same thing happened to me several years ago. Once it's going, there's not much you can do. The strangles vaccine itself is not all that effective and the numbers aren't stellar. some vaccinated horses in our barn got big pus-y jowls of grossness, mine and other unvaccinated horses were fine or had just 1/2 day of fever -- to this day, I do not give the vaccine due to witnessing this failure and knowing the complications.

      The best thing I did was to later leave that pile of ridiculous mismanagement and I am now much happier elsewhere with proper horsepersons. The best protection my horses have is being well-traveled and exposed to many horses and this seemed to play a factor in who got the worst of the infections.

      The bacteria itself dies quickly on dry surfaces, but can live foreeever in moisture, so there was lots of daily bleach scrubbings of stall walls and buckets and troughs to prevent re-infection (once management FINALLY admitted it was happening). Control as much as possible your horse's contact with everything, where they drink, where they graze, if manure gets spread on fields, and as soon as quarantine is lifted, run like the wind!

      Horses can be asymptomatic carriers for quite some time, some for their entire lives, sometimes shedding, sometimes not, so there are no guarantees, but bad management is just bad management, ugh.
      Life doesn't have perfect footing.

      Bloggily entertain yourself with our adventures (and disasters):
      We Are Flying Solo

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      • Original Poster

        #23
        Originally posted by tabula rashah View Post
        I would put a call into your vet and see what they think you should do- they would probably know if there was a quarantine facility available and they would know the proper channels to go through if there was reporting necessary.
        I plan to tomorrow, and I think they might have the facilities to quarantine at their clinic - but I didn't want to call and bother them on the weekend for something that's not really an emergency (i.e. my horse doesn't appear to be sick). It's good to hear what other people have done in similar situations, and how it worked out for them, though.

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        • #24
          I could have written a similar story... my horse injured himself in October and needed to moved to a paddock situation for a few months while I was rehabbing him. Moved him to a barn close to our house and was told one of the trainer's barns had a cold going through so to stay out. I was good with that given the proximity to the pens my horse would be in from the barn with the "cold." My husband is a vet and talked to the barn's vet to make sure it wasn't strangles- nope, just a cold. Not.

          A month later I find out it is indeed strangles and not only have they not told anyone they were letting people come in and out for training, lessons and clinics. WTF?!?!?!?! I was *LIVID* as I had plans to leave Jan. 1 for a barn that was perfect that happened to have an opening. I was sick to my stomach when I called the other barn owner and told them what was happening. Between the BO, my husband and BO's vet we decided to do a pharyngeal wash sent off to the lab to check for bacteria and a titer to check immunity. The wash is very sensitive and came back positive. We ordered further testing and the results were under the worrisome level and indicated the bacteria found in the wash were dead bacteria, most likely from the barn help who fed, cleaned stalls, etc. I am probably butchering the description of this whole process. His titer was low which meant he hadn't had an immune reaction to the virus. We vaccinated and moved his ass within days (he had been moved to pen away from everything). The strangles BO still was completely unconcerned. WTF?!?!?!

          Two months later a client that was housed in the other trainer's barn called in a panic because they had more sick horses. Turns out the vet that was treating the original strangles horses prescribed antibiotics and they had pretty severe relapses.

          Long story short, I would do whatever I could to get the hell out, even if you did have to pay for hospitalization in an isolation barn at a local clinic. Do call your vet and see about testing your horse. On a matter of principle, I could NOT pay another dime to the jerk of a BO who tried to hide a strangles outbreak and did nothing to prevent further spread of disease. It makes me irate to think about.

          Good luck to you, please update with what your vet says.

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          • #25
            OP, if you do decide to move, keep in mind that your horse has to be in quarantine for a good long while--I believe the current recommendation is 30 days--before she will be considered "clear." (The outbreak where I board occurred because the barn owners brought home their horse from the trainer's facility after only two weeks of an "all clear" with his outbreak, and we've had a few two week + lulls at our barn. Just in case someone tells you 14 days is enough.......it's not.) A whole month is long time to be in an isolation ward at the hospital or locked in a stall in a true quarantine facility. I can't imagine you'll find someone who will allow a possibly infected strangles horse to be turned out, much less worked or ridden.

            I get your frustration. I have been there, lived through it, have the t-shirt. It sucks. It's awful, and ridiculously irresponsible of the barn owners. In my case, I actually hauled my filly to the vet WITHOUT EVEN KNOWING there was a strangles outbreak and (get this) THEY STILL DIDN'T TELL ME when I had left with her. I found out from another boarder that evening and let the vet know, panicked. Thankfully, my horse was in isolation by default because there were no other horses there at the clinic.

            If you can find somewhere to put your horse with no other horses at all on the property, and no other horses that ARE going to be on the property for awhile, it might work to move her. Do you have any friends or relatives with horse property that DON'T have horses there? An empty barn, some space to turnout?

            Otherwise, the logistics of keeping a horse in quarantine for so long when she's safe (if possibly sick) where she is just don't line up, at least for me, especially since she's still got the chance of being sick where she's going.

            Good luck, and I hope your horse stays well. I know it's just a ridiculous thing to have to go through in this day and age when we know EXACTLY how to keep strangles from spreading all over the damned property....and it's just not done, for whatever reason....laziness, or ignorance, or ... well, I'm not sure what else drives such careless treatment of a strangles outbreak. :-/

            The "good" news about strangles is that it's usually over in each horse pretty quick and is usually "cheap." Barring complications, anyway. My vet didn't even really want to SEE mine (I sent her pictures) and did not want them on antibiotics. I gave a couple doses of banamine when they felt icky and wouldn't eat because of the fever and some sedative to clip Dove's oozing jaw and flush her abscess hole.

            Speaking of--if your mare isn't shed out and has a fuzzy jaw line, clip it now. You don't want to be clipping it when it's full of pus. Just trust me on this one.

            Oh, pictures? Of course I have pictures. http://www.chronofhorse.com/forum/sh...eriously/page2

            Sigh.

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            • #26
              If it were my horse, I might be inclined to find a place to isolate it, and move the horse there while putting it on a course of antibiotics. Then, after 30 days, if no clinical disease, finding a new boarding situation.
              "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

              ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

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              • #27
                Wow, just wow- the lack of communication part. Strangles, well, crap happens. Twice I've had horses at 2 different barns with strangles outbreaks, and once with another UR crud going through the barn. Fortunately they were professional about it and while things were kept quiet, horses were quarantined to the farm and customers knew about it so proper precautions could be taken as many of us also had/have horses at home.

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                • #28
                  As someone that lives in NJ this thread scares me a bit. We are in full swing for show season, I would hope that the barn in question gets quarantined and is reported to the NJ vets. Farriers, vets, visitors can spread strangles with out having the horses off the property.
                  Mighty Thoroughbred Clique - has a Facebook Page!!!http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mig...80739235378806
                  Www.customequestriandesigns.com

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                  • Original Poster

                    #29
                    Ah, North Jersey... not exactly teeming with places zoned for horses that isn't already populated with them. And you pay out your nose for everything. The flip side is that there are world class vets within a 15 minute drive that we regularly use. So I do know I'll be getting good advice. It seems like maybe there's testing that can be done to see if she's infected?

                    And Her Royal Highness has been clipped like three times this winter - she was in Ocala (for the EHV excitement, though not at HITS at all) and got her annual fungus, so twice fully and then I was touching up every time I went down to FL, ugh. Actually, her coat was a mess by the end of the season, and is finally nice again now, hopefully not to be ruined by oozing holes.

                    And, uh, the hauling out not knowing thing is a bit of an issue. I didn't find out when the whole thing started, just second hand three weeks later. How am I supposed to figure out when I'm safe to leave again???
                    Last edited by delusions of grandeur; May. 5, 2013, 11:58 PM. Reason: typo

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                    • Original Poster

                      #30
                      Originally posted by StellaTMK View Post
                      As someone that lives in NJ this thread scares me a bit. We are in full swing for show season, I would hope that the barn in question gets quarantined and is reported to the NJ vets. Farriers, vets, visitors can spread strangles with out having the horses off the property.
                      I am strongly considering calling the NJ vets tomorrow about this, contingent on vet advice... judging from the address on the website on your signature, you're not particularly close to this barn, if that helps.

                      I feel weird calling the state and blowing the whistle on this, considering I've only heard about this second hand and gotten no confirmation, but that's sort of the problem, isn't it?

                      Comment


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                        No. Not only does it NOT HELP, it increases the risk of purpura hemorrhagica, which is far, far, FAR worse than a simple strangles infection.
                        As the owner of a horse who developed purpura hemorrrhagica following a strangles outbreak at a boarding barn, it is not something you want to deal with. Thankfully, I knew what I was looking for and caught it within the first 24 hours, but it still required 6 weeks of dex and penicillin injections. Every time we tried to wean him off the dex, his legs would blow up again.

                        Originally posted by delusions of grandeur View Post
                        My question is more whether quarantine is a feasible idea, and what I can do to get her out of the situation without risking any other facilities. Has anyone here actually moved their horse to a quarantine barn before?
                        My situation was that I moved into a barn that had endemic strangles and did not notify anyone coming in to the barn. Apparently "everyone" knew, but since I had just moved to the area, I did not. Same shoddy practices that the OP is describing.

                        After my one horse developed purpura, I moved my two horses ASAP, still in the midst of a strangles outbreak. I found a barn that was willing to take them after two swab cultures came back negative. The horses stayed in "quarantine" (a small paddock away from everyone else) at the new place for a couple weeks and all was good. The new barn was owned by a vet, so he wasn't prone to overreacting since he knew how to take the necessary precautions.

                        You can certainly go to a vet clinic, though depending on their facilities and how full they are, they may not let you (they may need the stall for something more emergent). But you'll be paying an arm and a leg, and then you open your horse to a multitude of other issues by being exposed at the clinic. Most vets don't recommend long-term stays unless it's absolutely necessary. One of my horses was a long-term hospital resident at a university hospital for 5 months due to a significant injury that required intense rehab. One of his neighbors was essentially "boarded" there after a tendon injury because the owner had fallen on hard times in her family and couldn't rehab him herself. The (healthy) horse developed MRSA first from a neighboring horse brought in with that infection, and then a few weeks later went into kidney failure. I think he recovered (the horse was still there when my horse was discharged), but he was used as an example of "get your horse out of here if he doesn't need to be here".

                        Comment


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by delusions of grandeur View Post
                          I am strongly considering calling the NJ vets tomorrow about this, contingent on vet advice... judging from the address on the website on your signature, you're not particularly close to this barn, if that helps.

                          I feel weird calling the state and blowing the whistle on this, considering I've only heard about this second hand and gotten no confirmation, but that's sort of the problem, isn't it?
                          If I were in your shoes, I would call. This is not something to take lightly, and I wouldn't consider it whistle blowing, but being an honest horse owner. You are concerned for your horses, and need information. And the rest of us who are traveling all over the state for one event on another would certainly not want to come in contact with anyone that may be able to transmit the infection. If it is mis-information, then you got it sorted before the rumor mill got rolling any farther, and if it is valid, the correct steps can be taken.

                          And thanks for the regional location, I may an hour away, but my horse is much closer and we regularly travel to North Jersey.
                          Mighty Thoroughbred Clique - has a Facebook Page!!!http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Mig...80739235378806
                          Www.customequestriandesigns.com

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                          • #33
                            IIRC it's 30 days from the last observed symptoms on ANY horse on the property to be considered clean as far as the barn and resident horse population goes. That could mean OP has to wait out more horses getting sick and recovering followed by more showing symptoms plus that time period-especially since horses are being allowed on and off and new boarders accepted. Especially since that barn is not doing much to completely isolate the infected animals and practice proper bio security. OP could be looking at a long spring staying on that property. I suggest looking into a rehab/layup facility, some will take the horse, haul it for you (then disinfect the trailer) and isolate it while practicing proper hygiene...after 30 days with no further exposure OP will be good to go and it probably will be quicker then waiting for that barn to clear itself of the disease by waiting and hoping it goes away...
                            When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                            The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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                            • Original Poster

                              #34
                              So, update - I didn't actually call either the state or my one vet about quarantine (I've used more than one vet in this area for various reasons, so I have a good working relationship with several, haha - sort of like how the horse blanket guy recognizes my number on the caller ID). I spent my lunch trying to get to the bottom of things a bit - called one of the vets I've used because I know other people at this barn use them, and the receptionist (who I know would totally tell me if she knew) said they hadn't gone over there for strangles, but that she'll call me back if she hears anything, and I should try to call Barn Vet, because she knew he sees lots of the horses over there. So I call Barn Vet's office, his receptionist tells me that he has been over there several times recently, but she can't tell me whether it's strangles, and she wouldn't know anyway because she hasn't done the bills yet, and she doesn't want to step on any toes so I should ask the BO. (At this point, why bother, because from what I'm hearing, they'll tell me its FINE whether it is or not). I did specify that I wanted to know because I ship out a lot and wanted to make sure not to spread anything contagious.

                              Meanwhile, I've texted my friend who's involved in the business there (but is too busy working to ever actually go to the barn) - she calls me and tells me she's talked to Trainer, and it's just an upper respiratory thing and that she's sure if it's strangles they would notify us. I call and talk to Trainer, and she says it's not strangles, and tells me there are people that are just super dramatic and overreacting to a runny nose, and I should call Barn Vet (this is before I'd managed to reach Barn Vets office, which took a few hours, the above conversation with his receptionist was after this conversation with Trainer, and I told her Trainer suggested I call. Sadly, that didn't help). A funny - I'd told the senior associate I work under about the situation (the horsie plague!) earlier, and just after I get off the phone with them, he stops by and asks what's happening with "your horsie" because he was concerned for her - I tell him Trainer says everything is ok, and he goes, "You're a healthcare attorney, you know better than to listen when someone tells you things are fine!" See, G. House, "Everybody lies." (full disclosure, I'm six months away from actually being an attorney - I graduate next week and take the bar in July)

                              Anyway, I go to the barn tonight, hoping to run into one of the owners - I did not, but I did run into the people I'd spoken to Saturday, plus several others, who reconfirmed everything. Two people said their horses were sick and Barn Vet said it was strangles and put them on a week of something that starts with N (my overtired brain keeps coming up with Naproxen, but pretty sure that's not it!) and then SMZs after that. I feel like there's no point in asking owners now - if they tell me it is strangles (consensus says they won't) it's not new information, and if they tell me it's fine, I won't feel comfortable believing them. I can't see two people totally making up that their horses have been diagnosed with strangles - but whichever party is telling the truth, I think I need to assume that it's strangles so I make sure not to spread it if it is.

                              I will update again tomorrow - I do plan to call the state vet and explain that I would like confirmation about this and am hoping they can help. I will also speak to the vet I use that has an onsite clinic about quarantine options. Ugh, this is not what I need as I try to get through (my last ever!) finals!

                              Comment


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by delusions of grandeur View Post
                                Anyway, I go to the barn tonight, hoping to run into one of the owners - I did not, but I did run into the people I'd spoken to Saturday, plus several others, who reconfirmed everything. Two people said their horses were sick and Barn Vet said it was strangles and put them on a week of something that starts with N (my overtired brain keeps coming up with Naproxen, but pretty sure that's not it!) and then SMZs after that. I feel like there's no point in asking owners now - if they tell me it is strangles (consensus says they won't) it's not new information, and if they tell me it's fine, I won't feel comfortable believing them. I can't see two people totally making up that their horses have been diagnosed with strangles - but whichever party is telling the truth, I think I need to assume that it's strangles so I make sure not to spread it if it is.
                                Naxcel.

                                Has any horse on the property actually blown with a strangles abscess or been cultured strangles positive? THAT is the question you need to be asking here.

                                And be advised that antibiotics on a strangles positive horse is pretty damned controversial, as there is some evidence it can cause a bastard strangles, which is Yet Another thing you just don't want to deal with and can cause far more problems for you than just a strangles infection.

                                Who is in charge at the barn? CALL THEM and ask the above question.

                                Comment


                                • #36
                                  Antibiotics do not cause bastard strangles.
                                  "It's like a Russian nesting doll of train wrecks."--CaitlinandTheBay

                                  ...just settin' on the Group W bench.

                                  Comment

                                  • Original Poster

                                    #37
                                    Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                                    Naxcel.

                                    Has any horse on the property actually blown with a strangles abscess or been cultured strangles positive? THAT is the question you need to be asking here.

                                    And be advised that antibiotics on a strangles positive horse is pretty damned controversial, as there is some evidence it can cause a bastard strangles, which is Yet Another thing you just don't want to deal with and can cause far more problems for you than just a strangles infection.

                                    Who is in charge at the barn? CALL THEM and ask the above question.
                                    I was told yes, one pony has an abscess, and the first three horses to get sick were cultured and it was positive. I think I will text about when I'm leaving and mention that I've been hearing things, so is it ok to go? Problem is, even if they say everything's great, I don't know who to believe and don't want to spread anything if I go.

                                    Comment


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by delusions of grandeur View Post
                                      So I call Barn Vet's office, his receptionist tells me that he has been over there several times recently, but she can't tell me whether it's strangles, and she wouldn't know anyway because she hasn't done the bills yet, and she doesn't want to step on any toes so I should ask the BO. (At this point, why bother, because from what I'm hearing, they'll tell me its FINE whether it is or not). I did specify that I wanted to know because I ship out a lot and wanted to make sure not to spread anything contagious.
                                      They can't tell you anything about another client's horse; patient confidentiality, and they take that seriously.
                                      However, there may be an out in that when it comes to herd health, but I'm not sure how that works if the vet thinks the owners are taking the necessary precautions to prevent transmission.

                                      Comment


                                      • #39
                                        Seriously stop chattering to any and everyone about it, get on the phone to your own vet and make a plan to do what is best for your horse.
                                        "As soon as you're born you start dyin'
                                        So you might as well have a good time"

                                        Comment


                                        • #40
                                          Many vets require a confidentiality agreement as a condition of employment. Even if they don't, any receptionist who shared information over the phone with those not directly involved with ownership and management of that horse would be out on their butts pretty quick.

                                          You need to speak directly with the treating vet to confirm or deny strangles-and they may not speak to you either or be required to do so depending on state statutes, especially if it is really not strangles.
                                          Vets are leery of getting sued over negative info passed along by somebody on their staff and you may get somebody fired for cause violating a signed agreement to shut up unless sharing with owner of the horse.

                                          Mind you I think it probably is strangles and I'd get the horse out of their tomorrow to a suitable isolation arrangement. Even if it's not, they have bad practices and poor communication so you should get out.
                                          When opportunity knocks it's wearing overalls and looks like work.

                                          The horse world. Two people. Three opinions.

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