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[RC] rhinoflu - k s swigart

Deb said:

Does this sound familiar with anyone and if it does,
then how long does this last? What can I do if anything?

What your horse(s) has/have is probably some kind of upper respiratory
infection that appears to be contagious.  There are an assortment of
virus and bacteria that fall into this category, and the only way to
identify which one it might be is to do tons of lab work to identify
which one, and even then you may not know, or by the time you have found
out, your horses will probably be over it.  (Although it MIGHT be an
allergy, and they are all allergic to the same thing, but if this is the
case, I would look for something new that had been introduced to the

I went to a CTR ride this past weekend and that's when my 8 yr.
old coughed his head off one eve. I took him home the next day since
I live close, and left my mare there for the ride.

Since what your horses have appears (because it is running through your
herd) to be contagious, any group event is a total no-no.  So they
shouldn't have been there in the first place, and you should have taken
both of them home so that it doesn't run through everybody else's herd
as well.  Especially since you haven't identified it.

The ride vet said to not do anything with the 8 yr. old at all so he's
been left in the barn and pasture with the other two and hasn't been
ridden for a week.

The best way to keep an upper respiratory infection from becoming a
lower respiratory infection (i.e. pneumonia) is rest.  Avoid anything
that will make the horse have to breath hard

Can this be passed back and forth?

Generally, probably not.  When horses are exposed to a disease causing
pathogen, if they successfully fight it off and begin to recover, they
usually have a heightened immune response to that pathogen and are
unlikely to contract it again;  however, if they aren't fully recovered
before they are exposed to the pathogen again (so the immune system is
still using up anti-bodies to fight the initial infection), then
continual exposure can make it harder for the horse to fully recover.

Should I keep them all confined and away from each other for
weeks till this passes?

Personally, if it were me, and they seemed to (as a group) be
successfully fighting off the disease (whatever it is), I wouldn't go
out of my way to separate the sick horses from the sick horses.
However, I would go out of my way to keep the sick horses away from
other people's healthy horses (or my own healthy horses if I had any).

I'm at my wits end since this is ride season. My mare is in the
OAATS novice program. She needs to be well.

This little tid-bit of data is irrelevant.  Ensuring that your herd gets
the rest and recuperation that it needs while at the same time staying
away from healthy horses is all that matters.

The ride vet said a fever is present before the cough so you
wouldn't know they were sick till they start coughing.

You do not mention whether any of the horses has/had a fever at any time
(or whether you or anybody else ever took their temperatures), but this
could give you a better idea of how/wether they are fighting an
infection.  Horses with the flu have a tendency to spike pretty high
fevers.  Horses with strangles can have varying degrees of fevers from
high to low grade to none at all; they may or may not have gobs of green
snot (although frequently they do); they may or may not have a cough
(but any horse with any kind of upper respiratory infection will
probably have a cough if you work it); and they may or may not have
swollen or abcessing lymph nodes.  My understanding of horses with Rhino
(I have never had one, that I know of), is that the fevers tend not to
be as high as with the flu.

However, as I said "that I know of."  Generally, I don't go out of my
way to identify the causative agent of an upper respiratory infection,
since the treatment of choice is pretty much the same for all of them.
Rest with no respiratory stress (and I will take the well pasture mates
out of work as well, since the best way to keep them well when they are
exposed to a pathogen is to not stress them), monitor the temperature
and bring down (usually with bute, but I will cold hose as well if I
think it will help) any fevers that are around 104 or above.  Low grade
fevers (101 to 103 ish), I will just let run their course, since they
are part of the horse's defense mechanism and help to fight the disease.
Whether I try to bring down a fever that is between 103 and 104 depends
on the time of day, whether it has come down to this temperature or gone
up to it, etc.

I will also get out a stethoscope and listen to the horse's lungs (and
the rest of its airway) to ensure that the infection isn't developing
into pneumonia.

They are all eating, alert and fine in all the other ways.

This is a good sign that they are not "too sick" and should recover
fairly easily if given the opportunity.

Orange County, Calif.


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