This is pus on the edge of her grain bucket.
Our little girl is VERY sick. I'm pretty sure she has strangles. Today, I was standing in her pen trying to convince her to approach me and sniff me, so I was squatting down on the ground. She was standing very close, so close that I could feel her breath on my outstretched hand, but she wouldn't come any closer. As I was sitting there watching her I notice that she had a thin watery (slightly brownish tinted) nasal discharge. THEN I noticed that she had something hanging from underneath her jaw, right in the middle between the two halves...a closer inspection revealed that it was actually puss caught on loose hair. And sure enough, she also had a swollen lump a little further back, almost in her throatlatch. She's coughing more often now, still phlegmy, and I notice that every once in a while she'll stop chewing her hay and stretch her neck out, letting the hay come out of her mouth while she makes a bit of a choking sound, then she'll resume eating. I also noticed that the left side of her cheek is very swollen...I don't think that is from stangles though...that seems more like an abcessed cheek or tooth or something.
And now I'm worried about the other horses that were meeting her through the fence! We put electric wire up so that they can't reach her to touch noses anymore, but it's probably too late now. And no, I didn't vaccinate mine against strangles, but in hindsight, it probably would have been a good idea. I really didn't imagine the mustangs coming in with diseases. They are actually vaccinated for strangles, but that vaccine is notoriously ineffective (part of the reason why I didn't see a need to vaccinate mine). I'm pretty sure that she wasn't draining pus yesterday, so hopefully the exposure that they had was not extreme. Plus, my horses are over 5 years old, very healthy, and pretty much in the prime of their lives. I am hoping that they don't get sick! Ugh! How awful!
I also read that antibiotics (penicillin) are very effective early one, but once they start draining from abcesses, antibiotics can prolong the infection. Not that I can give her injections now anyway...that'd be a way to destroy any little bit of confidence that she has in me!
I will be calling the vet on Tuesday to see what I need to do...if necessary, I wonder if I should start mine on a short course of antibiotics to prevent them from catching it. It's too late to vaccinate because it can take up to 2 weeks post vaccination to build full immunity.
In better news, the 2 year old boy did not try to run through the fence when I gave him hay this morning. He was still snorting and standing back watching me distrustfully as I talked to him and told him I understood, but really it was not necessary for him to snort at me. He really does think the barn is very safe. He thinks the danger lurks outside. I came through the side door and walked toward his area in the barn, and he didn't even notice me until I was right up beside his panel. Then of course, he snorted and lept outside. I think he just needs a lot of time. He is super scared.
She is not as scared, and before I noticed her pussy drainage, I had been walking her around the pen (yes, she walks, not panics), and trying to get her to just stop and look at me with both eyes. She was getting pretty good about it on her left side, but not so good on her right. It took more patience and I had to stand farther back and wait for her to look at me...if I approached or stood any closer, she'd just turn away from me and walk away. On her left side though, she'll actually turn into me and face me then change direction and walk off. I'm sure that the walking has something to do with being very sick. I'm going to not even go in her pen anymore. She needs the rest, and I don't want to contaminate myself and end up being the vector that transmits the bacteria to my horses, if they don't have it already. No wonder she was sleeping so much. Poor girl.
Something is Starting to Take Flight
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