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This is a contagious disease of horses and can be very serious. However, some horses can carry the disease and not have outward signs of illness. If you have concerns that your horse may be infected or has been in contact with infected animals, please contact us for the best advice for your horse.
Symptoms are varied but can include a high temperature, inappeteance, being 'down in the dumps', a snotty discharge and swollen lymph nodes (swelling just under the jaw) can be seen in some cases. These swellings can occasionally burst out, discharging pus which is very infectious.
The infection can easily be transmitted by nose to nose contact with an infected animal, or sharing tack, water and feed buckets or contact with shared people - from owners to carers to vets! Sensible precautions if you are suspicious of the infection include isolating your horse from others, not sharing equipment and if your horse is infected not travelling to shows or other events. Horses at particular risk are young and old individuals, as well as those already ill with other conditions.
Antibiotics are rarely used in the management of the early stages of the disease but some medications can be helpful - please speak to a vet for the best advice for your horse. There is a vaccination available to use, which involves 2 injections into the lip 4 weeks apart, giving a good immunity 6 weeks after the first injection.
For more detailed information, including a guide on how to manage/prevent an outbreak and good advice on hygiene and isolation, please check out the Animal Health Trust site - http://www.aht.org.uk/skins/Default/pdfs/steps.pdf