This past week, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection confirmed that horses in several counties tested positive for strangles, a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects equids.
Because some diseases can be transmitted to humans and people can carry diseases between animals, appropriate precautions should be taken when in contact with sick horses.
© 2013 by Karin Belgrave New window.
Additionally, horses in Columbia, Rock and Waukesha counties tested positive for equine influenza, another endemic equine respiratory disease. Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection is reminding horse owners to practice enhanced biosecurity to avoid spreading these and other diseases.
Both strangles and equine influenza are common diseases that are reportable in Wisconsin and in many other areas in the USA. While most horses fully recover from strangles in two to four weeks, they may become chronically infected carriers and, on rare occasions, may die.
Symptoms of strangles include lethargy, fever, coughing, nasal discharge, abscessed lymph nodes, and a “strangled” breathing sound. Though rare, the bacteria causing strangles may cause severe disease in humans. Because some diseases can be transmitted to humans and people can carry diseases between animals, appropriate precautions should be taken when in contact sick animals.
Equine influenza does not affect humans, but symptoms in horses include fever, coughing, lethargy, reduced appetite and nasal discharge. To help reduce the risk of horses contracting and spreading these diseases, veterinarians, horse owners, and stable owners should make biosecurity a priority by taking the following precautions:
• Keep new horses and those attending exhibitions isolated from the general herd for up to 30 days after contact with other horses.
• Limit human and equine traffic within stables when possible.
• Avoid sharing of equipment, water, and feed, and limit equine nose-to-nose contact.
• If your facility has identified or suspected cases of strangles or equine influenza, implement a voluntary quarantine and contact your veterinarian.
Vaccines are available for strangles and equine influenza and other equine diseases, and equine owners should discuss vaccination recommendations and protocols with their veterinarian.
Horse owners, stable owners, and veterinarians can also find more resources from the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) at https://www.aaep.org.
Press release by Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (Editing by EquiMed Editor)