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• Strangles: What to Know
• Respiratory Problems
• Strangles: New Millennium, Same Disease
• Guttural Pouch: Frien or Foe!
• "an #ou Rie #our $orse %hrough a Flu!
• Room to &reathe: Proper 'entilation (or the %ra)eling $orse
• * Dealy "ough
Strangles: What to Know
by Written by: Corinne Sweeney, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM
%he (irst reporte case o( strangles in a horse was in the year +,-+, an it has continue
to worry horse owners since that time. #our )eterinarian has a wealth o( /nowlege about
strangles in(ections in horses. %his article will e0pose you to the basic (acts about strangles so
you can be a partner with your )eterinarian as you wor/ to treat, control, an pre)ent the isease.
What causes this highly contagious isease, an what shoul 1 e0pect to see!
Streptococcus e2ui 3commonly /nown as S. e2ui4 bacteria gain access to your horse either
through the nose or mouth. %hey then in)ae lymph noes in the hea an throat. What (ollows is
a purulent 3pus5li/e4 nasal ischarge an abscess (ormation in the lymph noes. 6ther signs that
might e)elop inclue (e)er, loss o( appetite, an listlessness. %he name strangles was coine
because a((ecte horses sometimes 3but rarely4 were su((ocate by enlarge lymph noes that
bloc/e their airways. %he lymph noe abscesses ma/e the noes swollen an pain(ul. With
time, serum might oo7e (rom the o)erlying s/in, as the lymph noe abscesses mature be(ore
rupturing to rain their creamy pus. 6ther lymph noes in the hea an throat can be in)ol)e,
but they are not apparent as many o( them rain into the nasal ca)ity.
$ow is my horse e0pose to strangles!
Most horses that e)elop strangles got it (rom the in(ecte nasal ischarges o( a horse with an
acti)e case o( strangles or one that has recently reco)ere (rom it. Direct transmission occurs
when horses, being )ery social, ha)e nose5to5nose contact. 1nirect transmission occurs when a
susceptible horse shares (ee or water buc/ets with an in(ecte horse.
6wners nee to recogni7e that about ,89 o( horses continue to she S. e2ui in their nasal
secretions (or se)eral wee/s a(ter they ha)e reco)ere. 'iew all reco)ere horses as potential
sources o( in(ection (or at least si0 wee/s a(ter the clinical signs o( strangles ha)e resol)e. *n
e0tremely small percent 3maybe +5+894 o( horses continue to she S. e2ui in their nasal
secretions (or a prolonge perio o( time, anywhere (rom months to years. %hese horses
(re2uently ha)e guttural pouch in(ections cause by S. e2ui.
What about (iels an barns! S. e2ui isn:t a hary organism; it oesn:t persist well in the
en)ironment. While it:s possible to contract strangles (rom an in(ecte horse:s pasture, it:s )ery
$ow will my )eterinarian /now i( my horse has strangles!
Most o(ten, your )eterinarian will iagnose strangles base on the classic clinical signs. %o
con(irm in(ection, the <gol stanar= is still a bacteriologic culture (rom either nasal swabs or pus
(rom the abscesses. *nother test is a polymerase chain reaction 3P"R4 test, which etects the
DN* o( S. e2ui. While the test is e0cellent, it oes not istinguish between ea an li)e
What o 1 o i( there is a strangles outbrea/!
6wners are the /ey to success(ully controlling an outbrea/ o( strangles. First, iscuss the
situation with your )eterinarian. With his>her help, you can ienti(y a((ecte groups o( horses, loo/
at the geography o( the premises, an re)iew management practices. %ogether you will e)elop a
practical isease control strategy customi7e (or your particular circumstances. Se)eral speci(ic
aims o( the plan will be to:
+4 Pre)ent the sprea o( S. e2ui to horses on other premises an to new arri)als on in(ecte
premises. %his is one by stopping all mo)ement o( horses on an o(( the a((ecte premises until
(urther notice. %hen, horses with strangles an other horses e0pose to them shoul be /ept in
well5emarcate <irty= 2uarantine areas. "lustering the cases in groups shoul allow parts o( the
premises to be allocate as <irty= an other parts as <clean.=
,4 ?stablish when reco)ere horses are no longer in(ectious. #our )eterinarian will start a
program o( culturing nasal swabs o)er se)eral wee/s, an horses that are consistently negati)e
will be returne to the <clean= area.
@4 1n)estigate long5term carriers. 1( a horse shes S. e2ui longer than e0pecte, your )eterinarian
will recommen an enoscopic e0amination o( the guttural pouches an treatment, i( neee.
A4 Pre)ent in(ection spreaing (rom the <irty= areas to the <clean= areas o( the premise. 1eally,
separate groups o( (arm wor/ers will eal with the two groups o( horses. 1( this is not possible, the
horses in the clean area shoul be attene to be(ore wor/ing with the horses in the irty area.
#our )eterinarian will also be able to escribe methos o( isin(ecting (acilities.
1n conclusion, the /ey to a success(ul control (or strangles is e)eloping a plan with your
)eterinarian, ahering to that plan, an not panic/ing.
poste: B>B>,88-. Cast upate: B>B>,88-.
by "y #ancy S. $o%ing, DVM
?2uine in(luen7a or other respiratory )iruses 3rhinopneumonitis, rhino )irus4 or bacteria can
stri/e a horse regarless o( the time o( year. $orses that atten e)ents where other horses are
congregate or horses that li)e in large boaring barns are particularly at ris/.
Not all horses that contract a )iral in(ection will isplay o)ert clinical signs, but such a horse may
then be a carrier capable o( in(ecting less immune5competent ini)iuals. 1n this way, a horse that
has ne)er e)en le(t the property coul become in(ecte. 1t coul be a young or an ol horse less
capable o( (ighting o(( in(ections.
*ny respiratory in(lammation incurre sets up the potential (or that horse to e)elop chronic
obstructi)e pulmonary isease 3"6PD4, also /nown as hea)es. Moly hay is one means o(
starting this chronic isease, but amage (rom respiratory )iruses is another common inciting
cause o( this airway isability. 1n general, pre)ention is the /ey to goo airway health, but e)en in
the best o( circumstances, horses o e)elop respiratory in(ections.
$ow o you iscern i( your horse has e)elope a respiratory problem!
Shoul your horse stan there listless, or ha)e a ischarge (rom the nose, eyes, or start coughing
at the slightest pro)ocation, you can o a (ew things to obtain in(ormation to assist in trac/ing
own the source o( the problem.
%he (irst orer o( business is to obtain a rectal temperature to chec/ (or (e)er. %hen consier i(
you are (eeing new hay, or i( recent bales ha)e come out o( the bac/ o( the stac/ or (rom an
area that may ha)e gotten wet or has pic/e up moisture (rom the groun. Sha/e out a (ew (la/es
an see i( a ha7y ust rises (rom the pile. Does it ha)e a musty oor li/e you woul e0pect with
mol! 1s the hay usty! *re there strong ammonia (umes in the barn ue to urine5soa/e
being! 1s there a riing arena aDacent to the stalls where the horses woul be e0pose to
airborne particles an ust! *ny o( these situations can stimulate an allergic respiratory conition.
1n turn, compromise lung 2uality ma/es them more susceptible to )iral attac/.
Does your horse ha)e nasal ischarge! What oes it loo/ li/e! * clear an watery ischarge is
o(ten consiere normal an it not necessarily a problem but may be a sign o( a horse with a )iral
in(ection. *n opa2ue, white ischarge o(ten inicates mucous an can be relate to an allergy
problem or in(lammation in the airways. * ischarge with a color 3creamy, yellow, green4 usually is
inicati)e o( bacterial in(ection.
Feel beneath the horse:s Daw, an you will (in a (irm lump enoting an in(lame lymph noe, then
mo)e the horse into isolation an monitor him care(ully. %a/e his temperature aily, (ee an
water him separately, an watch (or any cough or nasal ischarge. Cymph noes can become
in(ecte with the streptococcal organisms to create a <strangles= in(ection that is highly in(ectious
to other horses. #our )et can a)ise you on appropriate therapy an course o( action as each
case is ini)iual in how it shoul be hanle.
* coughing horse shoul be isolate (rom others in the e)ent that the problem is inuce by a
)iral or bacterial in(ection. 1ncubation o( respiratory )iral in(ections in horses generally ta/es three
to se)en ays a(ter e0posure be(ore clinical signs will begin to show. 1ncubation (or Streptococcus
e2ui usually ta/es up to three wee/s to emonstrate clinical signs.
* horse with a respiratory in(ection shoul be allowe at least three wee/s (or healing be(ore
being put bac/ into (ull wor/. %his enables the airways to regain (ull, health(ul (unction without
su((ering a relapse.
"lean air is a e(inite part o( the recipe (or tening to a horse with respiratory problems. 1t is also
an e0cellent strategy (or maintaining goo airway health. 1( your horse is house inoors, the best
strategy woul be to mo)e him outsie where there is (resh air. Fee hay o(( o( the groun rather
than in (eeers that are at chest height. $ea5own (eeing enables a horse to clear irt an ust
(rom his nostrils an airways rather than inhaling irritating particulate matter into the lungs. Sha/e
open the (la/es o( hay an soa/ each thoroughly with water be(ore you (ee it. %his hols own
the ust an spores an /eeps them (rom (urther irritating the airways.
Pre)ention With 1mmuni7ation Strategies
* routine )accination scheule implemente by your )eterinarian can help /eep )iral respiratory
in(ections 3e2uine in(luen7a an e2uine rhinopneumonitis4 to a minimum within your her.
1n(luen7a an rhinopneumonitis )accines are typically gi)en between two an (our times a year.
Fre2uency epens on ris/ o( e0posure. %he more stress, the more rigorous the competition
scheule, the more encounters with other horses, the more (re2uent shoul be the )accination
plan. "urrently there is much ebate o)er the sa(ety an e((icacy o( using the intranasal strangles
)accine, so chec/ with your )eterinarian about the pros an cons o( using this prouct.
poste: ,>,8>,88@. Cast upate: ,>,8>,88@.
Strangles: #ew Millenni&!, Sa!e Disease
by 'ohn (i!oney, "Sc, MV", MRCVS, MS, hD, DSc
Adopted )ro! the $loyd*s +,&ine Disease -&arterly
Epate Fuly ,88-
Strangles was one o( the (irst e2uine iseases to be escribe by the early writers o( )eterinary
science. En(ortunately, not a great eal about the isease has change o)er the centuries.
Strangles is still wiely reporte in North *merica an all other areas with maDor populations o(
horses. 6utbrea/s o( strangles 3an other in(ectious iseases4 are costly when consiering the
)alue o( the horse, lost per(ormance time, misse breeing ates, )eterinary treatment an
6ne o( the main (actors contributing to the sprea o( the isease is the mo)ement o( horses,
particularly those that no longer show clinical signs but still she the organism in their nasal
secretions. *s the international mo)ement o( horses continues to increase, strangles ran/s high
on the list o( iseases li/ely to be transmitte.
%he organism that causes strangles is a bacterium calle Streptococcus e2ui. %rans(er (rom
horse to horse usually in)ol)es irect (ace5to5(ace contact or e0posure o( horses to such things as
contaminate (ee, water, hans, )eterinary instruments or grooming tools. S. e2ui may sur)i)e in
rin/ing water (or up to (our wee/s. * stall or )an recently use to house or transport a horse that
is sheing the organism may also be a source o( in(ection. $owe)er, because the organism ies
2uic/ly in the en)ironment, the usual source o( in(ection is an in(ecte horse. * small percentage
o( horses may harbor S. e2ui. in their gutteral pouches (or months or years an transport in(ection
to susceptible horses. %hese horses may ha)e an intermittent unilateral nasal ischarge an
pathologic changes in the a((ecte pouch.
"lassic signs o( the isease inclue suen onset o( (e)er as high as +8B egrees F, thic/ yellow
nasal ischarge, swollen lymph noes uner the Daw. When the in(ection in)ol)es lymph noes
abo)e the airway, horses may cough stretch their heas out. 6ther signs inclue epression,
poor appetite, loss o( conition an (oul smelling breath. %he isease is typically miler in oler
animals, who may only show nasal ischarge. $owe)er, horses o( all ages are susceptible. %he
isease is iagnose in the laboratory by culture an>or P"R o( the nasal canals. * test to
measure serum antiboy is also a)ailable.
&y unerstaning other (eatures o( the organism an isease, horse owners an barn managers
can ta/e steps to help pre)ent it (rom spreaing an to lessen its se)erity:
• %he time between e0posure to an in(ecte horse an onset o( clinical signs 3incubation
perio4 ranges (rom three to +B ays
• $orses will e)elop a (e)er two to three ays be(ore they she S. e2ui.
• %he organism can be she in nasal secretions (or two to three wee/s a(ter clinical signs
• 1ni)iual horses within a group can become in(ecte at i((erent times
• Since antibiotic treatment is o(ten not e((ecti)e in getting ri o( the organism, chances are
high that the horse may relapse a(ter treatment is stoppe
• *lso, immune responses are sometimes poor in horses that are treate with antibiotics
&ecause strangles is so contagious, strict measures to control its sprea must be ta/en.
%he Strangles "ontrol Plan, below, is esigne to reuce the se)erity an length o( the isease
by reucing the numbers an potency o( the organism.
Strangles "ontrol Plan
• New horses shoul be isolate (or two wee/s an obser)e (or signs o( strangles an
• *ny horses showing signs shoul immeiately be 2uarantine
• Rectal temperatures o( horses that ha)e been in contact with sic/ horses shoul be ta/en
twice aily an recore (or two to three wee/s 3normal G HH.- to +88.-4
• $orses whose temperatures rise +.- egrees or more shoul immeiately be 2uarantine
• %he nasal passages o( sic/ horses may be culture at wee/ly inter)als (ollowing abscess
rainage to etermine when the in(ection is cleare
• 6nly se)erely a((ecte horses shoul be treate with antibiotics. Most cases reco)er
without treatment an e)elop strong immune responses. Detection o( guttural pouch
in(ection re2uires enoscopic screening
Without control measures, a strangles outbrea/ will ultimately a((ect all susceptible horses, last
longer, an ha)e a greater chance o( leaing to complications. %hese inclue purpura
hemorrhagica 3an in(lammation o( the bloo )essels4 an abscesses in other areas o( the boy
besies the respiratory tract.
%he le)el o( immunity stimulate by )accines is lower than that prouce uring reco)ery (rom
strangles because the right type o( antiboy is not stimulate. 'accines gi)en intramuscularly
cause antiboies to be prouce in the bloo but not in the tonsils where the organism enters.
'accines gi)en intranasally are esigne to cause antiboies to be prouce in the mucous
membranes o( the throat. %here(ore, this type o( )accine may be more e((ecti)e in bloc/ing entry
o( the organism.
&ecause the intranasal )accine is a li)e, altere )ersion o( the actual isease5causing organism,
there are some rawbac/s to its use. For e0ample, some horses e)elop nasal ischarge or
swollen lymph noes. 1t can also cause abscesses in places where horses recei)e other,
intramuscular )accines i( that area is contaminate with the intranasal )accine.
When pregnant mares are )accinate a month or so be(ore (oaling, the antiboies prouce in
their colostrums shoul protect their (oals (or three to (our months. &ecause (oals younger than
(our months ma/e poor responses to )accines, )accination at this age is not recommene. *lso,
)accination uring an outbrea/ is o( no )alue to horses that are alreay in(ecte. ?0perts o not
recommen )accinating horses that ha)e ha strangles uring the pre)ious two years.
Pre)ention plays the largest part in the control o( strangles. &y ienti(ying an isolating in(ecte
horses, practicing strict hygiene, an isin(ecting e2uipment an (acilities, an epiemic may be
pre)ente. %esting o( horses being mo)e within an between countries using (ast but accurate
iagnostic tests is also help(ul. Proper selection an aministration o( )accines is also important.
+4 %itle Strangles: New Millennium, Same Disease
,4 *uthor Fohn %imoney
@4 &io &Sc, M'&, MR"'S, MS, PhD, DSc
A4 Source CloyIs ?2uine Disease Juarterly
-4 Date February ,K, ,88+
B4 Menu Diseases Respiratory conitions
poste: B>+L>,88,. Cast upate: K>,K>,88-.
.&tt&ral o&ch: /riend or /oe0
by $ydia /. Miller, DVM, and Da%id /ree!an, MV", MRCVS, hD,
Dipl. ACVS, AA+ !e!ber
%he uni2ue 2ualities o( the horse can be a blessing or a curse. Sometimes, they can be both.
"onsier the peculiar guttural pouches. Present in only a (ew other animals, these structures are
i)erticula o( the auitory 3eustachian4 tubes an, until recently, were thought to ser)e no purpose
3see Mystery Sol)e in the Fune ,888 issue4. *n uncommon source o( isease in horses, they
must be ta/en into account i( certain signs such as bleeing (rom the nose, swelling o( the
sali)ary glans, amage to ner)es o( the hea or throat, or upper respiratory illness are present.
En(ortunately, their location an closeness to )ital structures such as arteries an ner)es ma/es
iagnosis an treatment o( guttural pouch isease i((icult.
%he guttural pouches are (rame by the base o( the s/ull at the top, the pharyn0 an esophagus
at the bottom, an the sali)ary glans an manible on the sies. %here is a slit5li/e opening (rom
each guttural pouch into the pharyn0 that is har to see, an e)en harer to open (or e0amination
or rainage purposes. Now a the internal an e0ternal caroti arteries, (i)e cranial ner)es, a
(ew lymph noes, an some elicate bones an Doints, an the i((iculty o( iagnosing an
treating guttural pouch problems increases.
%here are three main problems associate with the guttural pouches. %hese are guttural pouch
mycosis 3(ungal isease4, empyema 3pus4, an tympany 3swelling o( the pouches ue to air
accumulation4. 6ther conitions such as tumors, (ractures, an (oreign boies occur much less
.&tt&ral o&ch Mycosis
While there is no age, gener, bree, or geographic preisposition to guttural pouch mycosis, it
oes seem to occur more (re2uently in stable horses uring the warmer months o( the year.
*lthough the Aspergillus organism has been obtaine (rom in(ections, the actual cause o( the
isease is not yet /nown. %he most common clinical sign o( a (ungal in(ection o( the guttural
pouches is se)ere bleeing (rom the nose 3epista0is4 not relate to e0ercise. %his is a result o(
erosion o( the wall o( the internal caroti artery, in most cases. When local ner)es are amage,
the horse might ha)e i((iculty swallowing 3ysphagia4.
#our )eterinarian will iagnose guttural pouch mycosis base on the history that you pro)ie, the
clinical signs that he or she obser)es, an e0amination with an enoscope. &ecause o( the li(e5
threatening nature o( the isease an its treatment, re(erral to a hospital e2uippe to eal with
complications is recommene. Surgery is the treatment o( choice (or horses with se)ere
bleeing. %he goal o( surgery is to (in an bloc/ o(( the a((ecte artery. Meical treatment
inclues topical anti(ungal agents; response is highly )ariable.
Guttural pouch empyema can a((ect horses o( any age. %his pus in the guttural pouches 3a
mi0ture o( white bloo cells, in(ectious organisms, an ea cells4 usually results (rom upper
respiratory tract in(ections, although it can e)elop as a complication o( other guttural pouch
iseases, local treatment with irritating rugs, or birth e(ects. $orses with this isease might
show nasal ischarge o((5an5on, swollen lymph noes or sali)ary glans, an ha)e i((iculty
breathing or swallowing. Ci/e guttural pouch mycosis, iagnosis o( this isease is best one
through enoscopic e0amination, to ma/e sure that the ischarge seen is coming (rom the
guttural pouches an not the lungs or sinuses. Raiographs 3M rays4 o( the region an
culture>sensiti)ity testing o( the ischarge might pro)ie aitional in(ormation.
%reatment in)ol)es aily (lushing o( the guttural pouches by your )eterinarian (or up to (our wee/s
to isloge an remo)e ea cells, ebris, in(ectious organisms, an other materials. 6nly non5
irritating, physiological (lushing solutions shoul be use to pre)ent (urther irritation, which coul
lea to ner)e amage an aitional in(lammation. 6ther meications or treatments can be
aministere base on the ini)iual horseIs clinical signs an conition.
Enli/e the (irst two conitions, tympany o( the guttural pouch is age5relate, e)eloping in (oals
shortly a(ter birth an (or up to one year o( age. 1t is also gener5relate, with more (illies than
colts a((ecte. Se)eral causes (or air being trappe in the guttural pouches ha)e been suggeste,
such as congenital e(ect or local tissue swelling (rom a pre)ious respiratory in(ection, but none
ha)e been pro)en. Ci/e other guttural pouch conitions, history an clinical signs are help(ul, but
enoscopic e0amination an raiographs con(irm the suspicion, rule out seconary problems,
an assist in the selection o( a treatment. Surgery is the most satis(actory treatment.
"hances are, your horse might not e)elop guttural pouch isease. &ut i( it oes occur, (ollow
your )eterinarianIs recommenations (or iagnosis an treatment care(ully. Guttural pouch
iseases are not only tric/y to manage meically an surgically, but they can lea to permanent
ner)e or other tissue amage, or e)en be (atal.
Lydia F. Miller, DVM, and David Freeman, MVB, MRCVS, PhD, Dipl. ACVS, AAEP member
American Association of Equine Practitioners
4075 Iron Works Pike
Lexington, KY 40511
ps!ed" #$%&$'(('. Las! upda!ed" )$%&$'((*.
Can 1o& Ride 1o&r 2orse (hro&gh a /l&0
by Diane K. .ross, DVM
By Diane K. Gross, DVM
You wake up after having a fitful night, coughing, wheezing and constantly graing
for that ne!t tissue. Your chest feels like its in a vice, you can"t eat and you"ve got
the lues. #hat you"ve really got is the flu, and when your horse has it, he doesn"t
feel $uch etter.
#ith $any $a%or horse shows and co$petitions taking place in this country, the
likelihood your horse will contract the flu, if you"re one of those traveling, is a fairly
good one. &nfluenza is a virus and it highly contagious in horses. &n horses, the virus
is caused y two distinct strains of influenza '. (y$pto$s include infla$$ation of
the nasal passages and throat, fever, coughing, wheezing, lack of appetite and
depression. Because it is a virus, there is little that can e done to cure it, other than
treat the sy$pto$s and increase the co$fort level of its victi$. )owever, when your
horse also happens to e a co$petition ani$al and an e!cellent athlete, it"s also
difficult to wait for a flu to run its course.
&nfluenza virus infections are co$$on a$ong young horses in training and outreaks
of the virus occur at least annually in $ost horse populations. &n a study conducted
at *he +hio (tate ,niversity, under guidelines of the +(, ani$al care and use
co$$ittee, to deter$ine the effects of e!ercise on horses infected with influenza, as
co$pared with infected horses given stall rest, it was concluded that while the
e!ercised horses did not have the virus any longer than those given stall rest, the
sy$pto$s were definitely e!acerated y e!ercise. -!ercised horses were worked on
a tread$ill five days a week at si! $iles per hour.
&n the study, all the horses e!hiited signs of the virus with ./ hours of infection,
including fever, coughing, nasal discharge, lack of appetite and depression. *hose
sy$pto$s persisted for 0. days following infection and were $ore severe in the
e!ercising horses. 1ever also developed in all horses and was persistent for 00 days
following infection. 2neu$onia eventually developed in all horses with the viral
infections eing $ore dra$atic in the e!ercised horses. #hile all horses e!perienced
weight loss within four days of infection, e!ercised horses lost 34 $ore pounds than
those having stall rest and continued to have lower weights for a $onth. -!ercised
horses also appeared to fatigue and have a delayed recovery fro$ e!ercise.
+viously, the e!ercised horses tended to e!hiit $ore severe clinical signs of
respiratory disease fro$ the first day of infection until aout the ninth day following
infection. 5linical signs were resolved in oth the e!ercised horses and those
receiving stall rest y the 03
day following infection.
#hile horses infected with influenza were ale to e!ercise without developing
incapacitating disease, and it appears that the e!ercise did not prolong the affects of
the virus, it is i$portant to note that the study did not $i$ic the adverse conditions
which $ight e encountered in training environ$ents. )orse owners should keep in
$ind that in keeping top athletes fit, it is est not to e!ercise their horses, and if at
all, $ild to $oderate e!ercise at the $a!i$u$, i.e. walking or trotting on a line.
5learly, the effects of the disease will not dissipate any sooner than it nor$ally takes
for the virus to run its course.
&f your horse contracts influenza, you should e cautious aout e!ercising your horse
at all, and stay aware of the signs of distress your horse $ight e!hiit while
e!ercising. 5ontact your veterinarian regarding $ethods you can use to prevent
influenza in your traveling ani$al and what you can o to ease hi$ though a couple of
weeks of disco$fort and $isery.
Diane K. Gross, DVM, is currently a 2hD candidate at *he +hio (tate ,niversity
under the supervision of 2aul Morley, DVM, and presented her findings of this study
during the 0667 ''-2 5onvention in 2hoeni!, 'rizona. 8esearch will continue in this
2osted9 :uly ;444
"opyright N +HHB5,888 *merican *ssociation o( ?2uine Practitioners. *ll rights reser)e.
A!erican Association o) +,&ine ractitioners
A8K- 1ron Wor/s Par/way O Ce0ington, K# A8-++
Phone: L-H5,@@58+AK O Fa0: L-H5,@@5+HBL
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Roo! to "reathe: roper Ventilation )or the (ra%eling
by Andrew De#o!e, DVM
*s show an roeo season starts in (ull swing, many horse owners uti(ully prepare their horses
(or tra)eling by wrapping legs with protecti)e co)ering, chec/ing that the trailer (looring is soun,
an ma/ing sure their horses are securely tie55all with thoughts o( protecting the health an
wel(are o( their )aluable cargo. $owe)er, (ew gi)e much thought to a )ery important
consieration55what can be one to protect their horseIs lungs! %ransporting horses (or long
istances can be a contributing (actor in the e)elopment o( respiratory isease, which can last
long a(ter the trip is o)er.
$orses consume less hay an water while tra)eling, an when transporte (or e0tene perios
o( time, they can become ehyrate. Dehyration can impair pulmonary e(ense mechanisms
that normally clear in(ectious material. *itionally, horses con(ine with their heas ele)ate
ha)e ecrease clearance o( in(ectious material simply ue to gra)ity. Sur(actant le)els, an
important substance in the lungs that helps pre)ent in(ection in the al)eoli, also are ecrease in
horses transporte (or e0tene perios. %he number o( white bloos cells also increases a(ter
transport; howe)er, these cells (re2uently are less e((ecti)e at remo)ing bacteria (rom the bloo
an airways. %rans5tracheal washes per(orme on horses a(ter transport re)eale an increase in
bacterial numbers in the lower respiratory tract. "onse2uently, horses are e0pose to higher
numbers o( bacteria in their lower airways at a time when their pulmonary e(ense mechanisms
ha)e been impaire by transport.
6ther (actors that contribute to the e)elopment o( respiratory isease in horses being
transporte are en)ironmental (actors. *mmonia, particulate matter (rom being an (ee,
carbon mono0ie, temperature e0tremes, poor )entilation, an o)ercrowing all play a role in
amaging airways an ecreasing resistance to isease.
%he stress o( trailering also contributes to isease. &loo cortisol le)els are increase in horses
a(ter transport 3cortisol is a hormone prouce by the boy in higher 2uantities uring times o(
stress4. Particularly at ris/ are young horses up to three years o( age. Stress that has occurre
prior to transport, such as weaning, showing, racing, or an enurance competition, can be an
important (actor, as well. * horse which alreay is milly ehyrate an stresse prior to being
loae in a trailer might not ha)e ae2uate reser)es to eal with ae e0posure an the stress
o( a long trailer rie.
%he se)erity o( respiratory isease associate with transport can )ary (rom mil upper airway
in(lammation to se)ere, li(e5threatening bronchopneumonia or pleuropneumonia. %he primary
bacteria to which horses are e0pose uring transport are S!rep!+++us species an those in
the Pas!eurella an En!erba+!eria (amilies. Respiratory )iruses inclue in(luen7a an
rhinopneumonitis. $orses coming (rom show, race, or sale en)ironments might be e0pose prior
to being loae, then e)elop isease seconary to transport.
$orses shoul be monitore a(ter transport (or the e)elopment o( respiratory isease. Signs to
loo/ (or inclue cough, nasal ischarge, (e)er, epression, an ecrease appetite. "all your
)eterinarian i( your horse e)elops any o( these signs.
Goo management an transport proceures will help minimi7e your horseIs ris/ o( e)eloping
respiratory isease. %horough cleaning o( trailers an )ans between loas o( horses will help
pre)ent the trans(er o( bacteria an )iruses among i((erent horses an ecrease the o)erall
number o( in(ectious organisms to which horses are e0pose. *llowing horses short rest stops
uring a long trip will help boost their e(enses. Resting at least once in a ,A5hour perio is an
absolute minimum; howe)er, more (re2uent stops o( e)ery si0 to eight hours are goo (or you an
your horse.P $orses shoul be unloae at these stops, gi)en access to hay an water, an
encourage to lower their heas. 1nae2uate trailer )entilation will allow in(ectious an particulate
material to buil up in the air, as well as contribute to o)erheating. Dusty hay an being,
especially with small lea)es or sha)ing si7e, shoul not be use in a trailer because o( the
particulate that will blow aroun when the trailer is mo)ing. Moly hay also as particulate an
allergenic material to the air in your trailer. &e sure to clean all hay out a(ter trailering to pre)ent
moly hay on the ne0t trip.
'accination plays an important role in pre)enting in(luen7a an rhinopneumonitis. &oosters
shoul be gi)en e)ery B85H8 ays to horses which are at high ris/ to e0posure, an horses
shoul be current on )accinations within +85+A ays o( embar/ing on a long trip.
$orses o not (ully reco)er (rom long istance transport (or se)eral ays. *ccoringly, a perio o(
rest (ollowing prolonge trailering will allow a horse to reco)er an regain (ull immune (unction.
%his rest perio is e)en more critical in those horses which were stresse prior to being
transporte. During this rest perio, you still nee to monitor your horses (or any changes in
attitue, appetite, or the e)elopment o( a nasal ischarge or cough.
*lthough horse owners cannot control all elements, /eeping in min these (ew guielines will help
iminish the chance o( respiratory problems e)eloping in your horse a(ter tranportation.
Andre, De-me, DVM, is a %..# gradua!e / 0ashing!n S!a!e 1niversi!y, +urren!ly living in
2a3dale, Cali/., and he is a//ilia!ed ,i!h Pineer E4uine 5spi!al.
A!erican Association o) +,&ine ractitioners
4567 Iron Wor3s i3e
$e8ington, K1 45799
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A Deadly Co&gh
by Dr. Ste%e .ig&ere
Rhd+++us e4ui pneumonia in the (oal can be ealy, but goo
management can sa)e the ay
When (oals get sic/, horse owners can sometimes (ace many sleepless nights, as well as wee/s
or months o( intensi)e management, to get these babies through the rough spots. 6ne o( the
most common problems in the ill (oal is pneumonia, cause by a bacteria calle Rhd+++us
e4ui, which attac/s (oals between one an si0 months o( age. Most (oals will ten to show clinical
signs, incluing coughing, abnormal breathing patterns an, less commonly, iarrhea, be(ore the
age o( (our months. Most (arms are susceptible to the isease, but some (arms are consiere
en7ootic or particularly prone to ha)e the problem continually. 6n these en7ootic (arms, the
isease can lea to signi(icant (inancial loss because o( the cost o( therapy an the occasional
eath o( (oals.
While ault horses can carry R. e4ui in small numbers in their intestine an not su((er any ill
e((ects, in the (oal, the organism can actually multiply in the intestine (or up to three months o(
age so that the presence o( (oals ine)itably contributes to the e)elopment o( the in(ection on the
Foals with R. e4ui pneumonia swallow the mucous that accompanies the illness; the bacteria
ens up bac/ in their intestines. %here(ore, their manure is li/ely a maDor source o( contamination.
Ener suitable conitions o( high summer temperatures, R. e4ui can multiply in the en)ironment
by +8,8885(ol in only two wee/s. * single gram o( soil contaminate with (oal manure coul
contain millions o( )irulent R. e4ui. %he inhalation o( ust particles laen with R. e4ui is the maDor
route o( pneumonic in(ection in (oals.
%he success(ul control o( R. e4ui in(ections on the en7ootic (arm epens on ecreasing the si7e
o( the in(ecti)e challenge, earlier recognition o( the isease, an passi)e immuni7ation.
Decreasing the si7e o( in(ecti)e challenge
?n7ootic (arms are li/ely to be those use (or breeing horses (or many years, those with hea)y
concentrations o( mares an (oals, an those locate where summer temperatures are high,
where soil type is sany an where ust is e0tensi)e. ?n7ootically a((ecte (arms are those where
the loa(ing paoc/s ha)e been turne into grassless, usty, san pits. Keeping large numbers o(
(oals on bare, usty, manure5containing paoc/s will result in hea)y challenge, with clinical
isease maintaining )irulent bacteria.
1t is important to house (oals in well5)entilate, ust5(ree areas an to a)oi irt paoc/s an
crowing. Pneumonic (oals must be isolate because they are the maDor source o( contamination
o( the en)ironment with )irulent organisms, an their manure must be composte. Pastures must
be rotate to ecrease ust (ormation an conse2uent inhalation o( R. e4ui.
*ny sany or irt areas shoul be plante with grass an mae o(( limits to (oals, or alternati)ely,
irrigation may be use(ul in ecreasing ust (ormation an encouraging grass. &ecause mares an
(oals ten to congregate aroun water sources an uner shae in hot summers, a reuction in
the si7e o( mare an (oal bans may reuce estruction o( grass an e0posure o( barren soil.
%he en)ironmental growth o( R. e4ui increases progressi)ely with temperatures to @8Q" 3LBQF4,
a(ter which it plateaus. 1mmuni7ation o( mares an (oals against common respiratory )iral agents
3in(luen7a, e2uine herpes)irus types + an A4, an e((ecti)e parasite control program, an
ae2uate colostrum inta/e with etection an treatment o( cases o( (ailure o( passi)e trans(er
may help by pre)enting potential preisposing illnesses.
?arlier recognition o( the isease
R. e4ui pneumonia is o(ten not recogni7e until it is well5a)ance an, there(ore, i((icult to treat.
?)en se)erely a((ecte (oals may appear to suc/ an beha)e normally. ?arly recognition o( the
isease with isolation an appropriate treatment o( in(ecte (oals will reuce losses, limit the
sprea o( )irulent organisms in the en)ironment, an ecrease the cost o( therapy. "are(ul
wee/ly physical e0amination an auscultation o( the lungs by a )eterinarian are success(ul in
promoting early iagnosis o( pneumonia, there(ore reucing mortality. "are(ul aily obser)ations
an temperature recoring, as well as *G1D testing or measurement o( (ibrinogen concentrations
at two wee/ inter)als may pro)e to be the best approach to early ienti(ication o( pneumonic (oals
on en7ootic (arms.
6n such (arms, routine ultrasonographic e0amination o( the lungs by a )eterinarian is another
metho that may allow early etection o( lesions be(ore e)elopment o( clinical signs. Eltrasoun
is also help(ul to e)aluate response to therapy. * combination o( the iagnostic tests presente
here will allow early ienti(ication o( (oals with pneumonia. $owe)er, the only e(initi)e way to
con(irm R. e4ui, as oppose to other bacterial pathogens, is culture o( tracheal or bronchial (lui.
%he istinction between pneumonia cause by R. e4ui an that cause by other pathogens is
important because the treatment approaches are i((erent.
Passi)e immuni7ation with intra)enous aministration o( hyperimmune 3$14 plasma is a popular
an generally e((ecti)e way to reuce the incience o( an eaths resulting (rom R. e4ui.
*lthough time consuming to aminister an e0pensi)e to prouce or buy, this is the single most
cost5e((ecti)e measure to pre)ent the isease on (arms with a high incience o( R. e4ui
'accines against R. e4ui in(ections are not currently a)ailable.
"learly, R. e4ui can be a e)astating problem on some horse (arms. "ontrol is possible, but
e0pensi)e. 1t is also crucial that pneumonic (oals are not sent to sprea in(ection (rom en7ootic
(arms to those (arms with little contamination. 1mpro)e an less e0pensi)e control approaches in
the long term will epen on a better unerstaning o( why this isease attac/s the young (oal.
Dr. S!eve 6iguere is a gradua!e resear+h assis!an! in !he Depar!men! / Pa!hbilgy a! !he
2n!ari Ve!erinary Cllege, 1niversi!y / 6uelph, Canada. 5e presen!ed his /indings during !he
%..) AAEP Cnven!in in Pheni7, Ari8.
A!erican Association o) +,&ine ractitioners
4567 Iron Wor3s i3e
$e8ington, K1 45799
poste: B>+L>,88,. Cast upate: B>+L>,88,.