Beware of strangles outbreak says Derbyshire vet

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CorneliaFollowing recent outbreaks of equine strangles in the Dronfield and Chesterfield areas of Derbyshire, equine vet Cornelia Chrobok, from Pegasus Equine Veterinary Practice in Dronfield, is keen to alert local horse owners of the dangers of this highly contagious infectious disease.
Strangles is one of the most common bacterial equine respiratory infections and in extreme cases horses can die from an infection. Symptoms include fever, nasal discharge, abscesses in the lymph nodes on the head and neck and loss of appetite.
Up to ten percent of recovered animals become chronic carriers of the strangles bacteria and will subsequently spread the disease. Yards may need to close temporarily, should an outbreak occur, which can result in considerable inconvenience and economic loss.
Dr. Cornelia Chrobok says: “Even if your horse is not affected at present it’s important to bear in mind how contagious strangles is. Some yards may not quarantine infected horses so if you are out and about schooling or at competitions your horse may be at risk. Prevention is always better than cure so it is worth considering a vaccination to give your horse immunity.”
Dr Chrobok offers the following practical advice if you suspect strangles:
• Call your vet for detailed guidance on isolation and handling procedures. All horses on the yard should remain under the care of your vet.
• Isolate the suspected horse and any other horses who have had nose to nose contact with it, away from other horses on the yard.
• Create three separate groups: infected horses, those who have had close contact with infected horses and ‘clean’ horses and maintain strict hygiene procedures between these three groups.
• Prevent any horses from leaving or visiting the yard.
• Contact the owners of all the horses on the yard and also any neighbouring yards, to inform them of the outbreak.
• Take the temperature of all horses twice daily. Pay special attention to the young, old and immuno-compromised. Isolate any horses showing an increase in temperature and get them seen by your vet.
• Don’t release any horse from the yard until they have been declared uninfected by your vet. The yard should not be opened to normal activities until after all horses are confirmed to be uninfected.
For further information and advice on equine healthcare, including strangles, flu and equine herpes virus visit www.pegasus-vet.co.uk

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