Contagious horse infection found in P.E.I. barn

If you have horses, the P.E.I. government is advising you take some extra precautions.

Disease does not affect humans or other animals

Horses need to be isolated until the infection is cleared, says Martha Mellish. (UPEI)

If you have horses, the P.E.I. government is advising you take some extra precautions.

A highly contagious bacterial infection known as strangles was recently found at an Island barn. Four horses from the same barn, east of Charlottetown, were diagnosed with strangles.

The disease can't be transmitted to other animals or people, but it spreads easily among horses.

"If it gets on someone's you know, clothing or hands, or if the horses are in nose to nose contact with other horses then it's very easy for it to spread," said Martha Mellish, a professor at the Atlantic Veterinary College.

"It's quite important to isolate them until there's obviously no more drainage,  and then really, you want to give it at least another three or four weeks after that, to make sure that they're not shedding any bacteria."

Few will develop serious illness

Symptoms include nasal discharge and abscesses under the jaw. These signs show up between three and 14 days after exposure.

A small percentage of animals can develop serious illness from strangles, but most recover within three to four weeks.

Anyone with a horse with symptoms should isolate the animal and consult with their veterinarian on treatment.

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With files from Sarah MacMillan