Anthrax And Equines: A Deadly Combination

Though anthrax may be more familiar to people for its use as a biological weapon, the bacteria should also be a concern to equine owners for the potential harm, including death, it can cause to their animals.

Bacillus anthracis, the bacteria that causes anthrax, can lie dormant in soil for years; it is particularly hardy in alkaline soil. If anthrax spores are inhaled or ingested, or if they encounter a wound, horses can develop and anthrax infection. Ingestion is the most common way for horses to get an anthrax infection. Ingestion often occurs after a heavy rain, when anthrax spores are pushed to the surface of grass; it can also occur during drought conditions when grasses are eaten down to the soil.

Once anthrax enters the body, it becomes active and multiplies rapidly, causing toxins that spread throughout the body. The septicemia anthrax causes progresses rapidly; killing many affected animals within two to four days.

Horses with anthrax will have trouble breathing; they will also have a high fever, and swelling on the neck and chest. Affected horses may colic, have bloody diarrhea or have seizures. The disease can be spread to humans, so an anthrax infection must be reported to the state’s veterinarian.

Anthrax is not endemic to all parts of the United States, so the vaccine is recommended only for horses that live in areas that are known to have anthrax spores. It is a live vaccine, so reactions to the injection site may occur. Antimicrobials may interfere with the vaccine response, so they should not be administered at the same time.

Read the AAEP’s anthrax guidelines here.

Read more at Stable Management.

The post Anthrax And Equines: A Deadly Combination appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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