Strangles... what do I do

Joined
31 January 2016
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Help. We've had strangles on the yard since new year. We had 2 cases confirmed (by my vet, which those horses also used), however the yard use different vet and advice given by them has been there is 'no point' screening using ELISA blood test since there are no facilities to isolate. There have been various suspected horses showing temp/cough/snot since the first two, some of these received just one swab which came back clear, a couple had a positive swab, and one has had no test whatsoever, owner has been advised by yard vet there is 'no point'. We have no seperate isolation boxes, well horses next to symptomatic and just dips outside symptomatic horses. The turnout is in 3 seperate fields plus 2 smaller pony paddocks but despite all horses brought in from turnout 3 weeks ago - as of last week all untested but not symptomatic horses have been allowed back out. I'm at a loss to know why horses are not being screened and tested and why untested horses are going out and mixing. I have become viewed as a trouble maker because of asking why. My horse has been kept isolated in her box for over 3 weeks now. I've not been able to even let her step over threshold to lunge. She had the first ELISA blood almost 2 weeks ago (clear) and will have the second on Monday. If that comes back clear, what the hell do I do.
 

hairycob

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It sounds like you will just have to ride it out. Tbh all the Elisa tests will tell you is that she didn't contract it 2 weeks ago - if she has contracted it since it is likely to still come back negative. All you can do is wait until biofeedback any symptoms and then start testing. There shouldn't be any horses coming it going until all horses have no symptoms& had either 2 clear Elisa tests or 3 clear swabs. Lack of symptoms does not necessarily mean a horse hasn't picked it up. Prior exposure can mean they are asymptomatic or have extremely mild symptoms. That's what happened with mine - one was so mild that his slightly snotty nose & cough were gone by the time we got the swab results back & the other didn't even have a raised temp. If you can't realistically isolate then you just have to wait. Turning them out together may even get it over with more quickly. You just have to keep your fingers crossed that you don't have one that gets it particularly badly.
 

Shay

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Have you spoken to your vet about the strangles vaccine? It isn't practicable day to day as it has to be re-done very 3 months. But it might provide some protection in these circumstances. But one way or another no-one can go off yard, compete etc until everyone is clear.
 

ILuvCowparsely

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5 April 2010
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Help. We've had strangles on the yard since new year. We had 2 cases confirmed (by my vet, which those horses also used), however the yard use different vet and advice given by them has been there is 'no point' screening using ELISA blood test since there are no facilities to isolate. There have been various suspected horses showing temp/cough/snot since the first two, some of these received just one swab which came back clear, a couple had a positive swab, and one has had no test whatsoever, owner has been advised by yard vet there is 'no point'. We have no seperate isolation boxes, well horses next to symptomatic and just dips outside symptomatic horses. The turnout is in 3 seperate fields plus 2 smaller pony paddocks but despite all horses brought in from turnout 3 weeks ago - as of last week all untested but not symptomatic horses have been allowed back out. I'm at a loss to know why horses are not being screened and tested and why untested horses are going out and mixing. I have become viewed as a trouble maker because of asking why. My horse has been kept isolated in her box for over 3 weeks now. I've not been able to even let her step over threshold to lunge. She had the first ELISA blood almost 2 weeks ago (clear) and will have the second on Monday. If that comes back clear, what the hell do I do.
TBH whether they are screened or not if they are going to get it they will get it.

If it were me, what has been done in the past where there has been no isolation box. We had to put a plastic chain link fence around the quarantine box, had a dip on the front, separate tools within the chain link and grooming kit etc, and one person only goes in with overalls and such. The quarantine horses were not allowed out anyway so other horses did not come into contact.

If your worried and they are not doing this then I would get a small link chain myself and say no one goes in there except you so like quarantine in reverse. You don't want anyone else or other livery owners to go into your horses area so they cannot touch another then yours.

Most yards around here with it are in lock down
 
Joined
31 January 2016
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TBH whether they are screened or not if they are going to get it they will get it.

If it were me, what has been done in the past where there has been no isolation box. We had to put a plastic chain link fence around the quarantine box, had a dip on the front, separate tools within the chain link and grooming kit etc, and one person only goes in with overalls and such. The quarantine horses were not allowed out anyway so other horses did not come into contact.

If your worried and they are not doing this then I would get a small link chain myself and say no one goes in there except you so like quarantine in reverse. You don't want anyone else or other livery owners to go into your horses area so they cannot touch another then yours.

Most yards around here with it are in lock down
That's exactly what I've been doing for the last 3 weeks. Dip outside my stable, reverse isolation, dipping all tools and hands before touching feeds hay etc. I'm not sharing haylage and I'm mucking out with her in her box. I think alot of people including yard vet have the attitude, let them all catch it and pray none of them get it seriously. And to be fair most aren't. But it's not knowing. I'm confident that by isolating she's not been in contact the last 3 weeks and the 2 clear ELISAs will mean that if I now put her out she's likely to catch it, but I don't see what option I have..... I believe it doesn't last longer than a few weeks in field conditions so it's frustrating that they didn't just wait and screen horses before turning clear ones out only, I know other yards that have done this and it makes sense to me
 

hairycob

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The trouble with the screening is that he Elisa te sts don't show positive for approx 2 weeks & the swabs won't show positive until it is active so both are of limited value and can give rise to a false sense of security. Unless you can keep your horse in true isolation you may just end up prolonging the outbreak with another horse getting it just as you are getting close to thinking you will get the all clear. Or you may be lucky. You won't know which until it's all over. We were lucky, the layout of paddocks at our yard meant mine could be turned out and completely isolated. If we had had to keep them strangled isolation wouldn't have been possible.
 

spacie1977

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3 June 2013
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Look up the strangles information on the Animal Health Trust website. It gives clear guidelines on how strangles should be managed. If you don't think the yard is following them properly you're well within your rights to discuss it with your yard manager. Don't worry about being seen as causing trouble; you need to look out for the welfare of your horse and although it's rare strangles will cause a fatality, it's not impossible, so you're right to be concerned. Besides, you'll probably find other liveries are just as concerned but scared to speak up.
My horse caught strangles a few years ago from an Irish pony the yard manager imported and started to mix with liveries without quarantining or testing them first. A few weeks later and surprise surprise, it turned out the 'cold' the pony developed shortly after arriving was actually strangles. Doh! Yard manager told me not to speak to the vet as she was in contact with them, following their advice and insisted she had everything under control. It turned out she hadn't spoken to the vet at all and wasn't following any of the basic precautions in containing it. She was trying to keep it quiet so as not to ruin her rep, and I think she was hoping it would all just quickly go away by itself. Fortunately only three horses caught it, but I think this was down to pure luck rather than her taking sensible precautions. So speak to your vet yourself and don't trust your YM is doing everything they should be. Don't let ANYONE touch your horse until the whole yard has been given the all clear by the vets, don't share equipment, and sterilise everything. Also, the bacteria will live on wood and in water for weeks, so water troughs, gate latches, door handles etc need scrubbing too. Good luck!
 
Joined
31 January 2016
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yup already looked up all info from AHT and all other info I can find. Am aware that ELISAs show antibodies (exposure) and only after 2 weeks. That's why I'm having second one. That's why I've done reverse isolation on my horse to be as sure as possible she's been isolated during those 2 weeks (and the week before). Already questioned why yard managers/yard vets are not following STEPS procedure and been shot down in flames ('no point' 'you're worrying too much, you can catch flu on public transport doesn't mean you'll never go out again' etc etc). They refuse to change policy. Yes several other liveries are very concerned but it doesn't do ANY good. Many others are not bothered. I'm utterly infuriated when so much more could easily be done to sort this properly. (rest some turnout, screen horses, gutteral wash all exposed/symptomatic horses). It's no wonder the horse community can't get on top of this disease when so many owners (and even a vet) are unconcerned, not bothered to screen, and are only going to investigate for carriers in 6 months time AFTER the yard re-opens...
 

FfionWinnie

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If they aren't going to screen horses for 6 months then you're wasting your time trying to isolate your horse.

I would move to a yard with proper isolation facilities if you can.
 

popsdosh

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7 November 2008
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6,388
yup already looked up all info from AHT and all other info I can find. Am aware that ELISAs show antibodies (exposure) and only after 2 weeks. That's why I'm having second one. That's why I've done reverse isolation on my horse to be as sure as possible she's been isolated during those 2 weeks (and the week before). Already questioned why yard managers/yard vets are not following STEPS procedure and been shot down in flames ('no point' 'you're worrying too much, you can catch flu on public transport doesn't mean you'll never go out again' etc etc). They refuse to change policy. Yes several other liveries are very concerned but it doesn't do ANY good. Many others are not bothered. I'm utterly infuriated when so much more could easily be done to sort this properly. (rest some turnout, screen horses, gutteral wash all exposed/symptomatic horses). It's no wonder the horse community can't get on top of this disease when so many owners (and even a vet) are unconcerned, not bothered to screen, and are only going to investigate for carriers in 6 months time AFTER the yard re-opens...
You are wasting your time and money testing you will be doing it every two weeks for a while she will either get it or not. Sorry there are many ways of dealing with ooutbreaks many line the vets pockets more than actually controlling the problem.
At the end of the day its down to individual choice as nobody can be compelled to do anything if they dont want too.
 
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