There has been a number of reports of significant infectious disease in our area. Here is a quick summary:
EIA – Equine Infectious Anemia is a virus spread by biting insects. It can result in a very serious, and untreatable disease. When you have a Coggins’ test performed on your horse, this is the disease you are ruling out. A 5-year old racing Quarter Horse was diagnosed positive in Fort Lupton and was euthanized May 8, 2017. Since this occurred before many of the biting insects were around in large numbers, the hope is that no other horses will be affected. The barn is under quarantine for 60 days and all horses will be retested at the end of that time.
Strangles – This is a respiratory disease caused by the bacteria Streptococcus equi subspecies equi. This strep bacteria usually causes symptoms such as nasal and ocular discharge, coughing, fever and swollen lymph nodes that can rupture and drain pus. In severe cases, these lymph nodes swell to the point that they obstruct the airflow through the trachea, causing respiratory distress and even death. Rarely, it can also cause other symptoms such as colic, depending on whether the bacteria makes it to the abdomen. While we may see a couple of cases each year, this year has seen a higher than normal spread of the disease, including an outbreak at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, home of the Westernaires Equestrian Team.
Rabies – This is a nearly 100% fatal virus that can easily spread between animals and from animals to humans. Two skunks and one fox were recently found to be positive for this disease. No horses or humans have been affected at this time. The signs associated with this disease are neurological (loss of coordination, odd behavior, sometimes aggressiveness) Another common sign is the appearance during the daytime of nocturnal animals or animals that usually hide. This disease can be prevented through routine rabies vaccination. If your horse has not been vaccinated against rabies within the last year, please call us to schedule one.