Strangles Prevention, what is reasonable?

Millie-Rose

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2 April 2012
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We are just in the process of opening a livery yard. We have three liveries already on site and three of our own horses. I have my BHSAI and have worked with horses in the past but have been fortunate never to have to deal personally with strangles. We are supposed to be having another new livery arriving this weekend but have just heard that a local yard (approx. 6 miles away) has a confirmed case of strangles. Now the new livery has no connections to the affected yard and indeed is currently renting grazing where her mare is the only horse. This grazing is another couple of miles away from us in the opposite direction to the affected yard. However she does take the mare out to compete and have lessons (not on the affected yard though). I feel that the mare is probably a low transmission risk however I obviously have a responsibility to ensure the health of my own and the liveries horses and as a new business am especially keen to be seen to have a good disease control policy. Would I be hysterical to ask her to have the mare blood tested before allowing her on the yard? My husband has suggested that we offer to pay for it. I feel my options are:

1/. Delay the mares arrival for at least a couple of weeks until we see whether the outbreak is contained to the one yard (at the moment there is only one case and the yard is on lock down for the next six weeks). This would be my preferred option however until I speak to her later today I don't know the situation re: giving notice on her grazing or whether her horse would be homeless.

2/. Insist on a clear blood test before she comes. If blood test clear then treat like any other new arrival i.e separate paddock for first couple of weeks.

3/. Allow her to come without a blood test but keep in isolation for up to a month. She could have a stable by herself at the far side of the yard and her own paddock at the opposite end of a 12 acre field to the others. I used to believe that strangles was airborn over short distances but having read up last night it seems it is spread by direct contact or via handlers clothes etc. I don't know how realistic this would be as the mare suffers with separation anxiety so may jump out or go through fences to get to the others.

Obviously I will be discussing this in full with the mares owners and will also ring my vets for advice. Have also spoken to current liveries about the situation and am keeping them informed as to what we decide to do. This is not about money as discussed will offer to pay for the blood test would rather the new livery didn't come for a while but also am concerned that we had an arrangement and am not sure if she needs to be out of her grazing at the weekend. Any thoughts or advice welcomed:)
 

jrp204

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Any of the horses on your yard could bring it in if they are out competing etc, personally since the new horse is kept on its own I would separate it for a couple of weeks.
 

Gloi

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Do you insist on similar treatment for all the current liveries every time they leave the yard to go to a competition? They are probably just as likely as this one to bring disease in.
 

loobylu

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I wouldn't grumble too much about a blood test if you were paying for it- some yards require all new arrivals to have one. It can throw up some delays/ expense if the horse has historically been exposed.
I've been on a yard with bonkers isolation rules and it did my head in! Similar to your situation, there was a contained outbreak on one yard, approx 7 miles away- we were not allowed to hack, or take horses off the yard for lessons/comps. I broke rank and went for a hack (still nowhere near the affected yard) and was promptly *******ed on return. Had dressage entries so again, off I went. Got to show centre- the flipping yard had phoned them to tell them I was coming from an infected area. Knew the owners fairly well from regular visits so was allowed to compete when I'd explained the farcical situation. If we stabled away for a night we had to go into isolation on return. It was all because of a non-horsey YO who cow-towed to the hysterical numpties on the yard.
 

Millie-Rose

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2 April 2012
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Thanks for your thoughts. I do feel that she is a low risk but wanted to follow best practice. My liveries don't compete much or certainly haven't since they have been here. I was out at an ODE on Saturday myself so obviously could have potentially brought it back. However I didn't feel I could do much about that as that as she has been out with the others since. It seems sensible then to separate the new mare from the others as much as possible for a couple of weeks and keep a close eye for any symptoms but to ask for a blood test is a bit over the top.
 

MerrySherryRider

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You could introduce an Equine Disease Prevention policy for the yard. There is quite a lot of information on the internet and WHW have a downloadable document which lists practical steps for best practice.

Simple measures which keep horses healthy and stress free makes them less susceptible to disease along with visual checks on new arrivals, looking at passports and having isolation facilities might be more acceptable than blood testing.

I'm always reassured by yards that have good management, where worming is part of a programme and stables are disinfected when horses are moved around and also isolation stables and paddocks for infectious horses. Plus information and protocol notices being displayed when there is a strangles outbreak locally.
 

STRIKER

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Isolate for a week, but really horse should be okay, strangles if passed by direct contact of the affected horses mucus which it can sneeze out but really 7 miles is more than far enough. Ensure water troughs are completely cleaned before use in winter as the streptoccocis virus which cause strangles lives in water, so horses on your own yard could pick up strangles in winter when moving to fields with unused water troughs. Food for thought.
 

Goldenstar

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If you are not on lockdown and have horses going out and about I would just follow standard isolation procedure when it arrives .
 
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