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Bel Joeor Sale and Giveaway!

Amanda from Bel Joeor is hosting a big sale on her Etsy site and a giveaway on her blog!  She makes beautiful saddle covers and bags.  I highly recommend checking out her shop and entering her contest.  

Strangles Vaccine

Every spring, I dutifully schedule my vet to administer spring shots for my horses, though I do teeth floating in the fall to not only break up the co$t$, but also I prefer not to do shots and floating all in the same day on a poor horse!  We always do the same things: Coggins, EEE/WEE/tet/flu/rhino, rabies, strangles, Potomac, and West Nile.  I haven't pulled a Coggins on Dreamy for several years since she is retired, but otherwise every horse gets all the things.  I choose to do this because I travel around a lot when showing and I don't want to bring anything back to the farm.  I also choose to have my vet do my shots instead of doing them myself for several reasons, including the fact I would need him here anyway for rabies and Coggins, so it has always just been worth it to me to have the vet out and be done with it.  I know everyone is different and what works for me might not work for someone else.
Winter refuses to end, so we march around in the sn*w
Anyway, this year with Ellie was a little different.  When I purchased her, I was told she had a reaction to the strangles vaccine (intranasal) years ago, so she hadn't had it again since.  I didn't think much of this since it was September and I did not have to think about spring shots.  

Cue March 2018 and it became something I had to look into further in order to make wise decisions about how to handle the strangles vaccine.  When I called Ellie's former vet, which goes by the nickname ABC, I was surprised to learn I needed to get the former owner to give permission for them to talk about her history.  I did not realize veterinary medicine was like human medicine!  Once that was all easily taken care of, I was able to get the full timeline of Ellie's strangles experience.  
In April of 2013, just before she turned one, an ABC vet pulled an m-protein blood test because she was presenting with a snotty nose, and it came back negative for strangles.  She was then given a strangles IN two months later in June.  However, then about six weeks later, at the end of July 2013, a different vet in a different clinic (therefore I did not get a ton of info) had faxed a positive strangles test to ABC.  It was strange that a different vet did the strangles work up, but whatever.  In this case, the ABC vet did not have a lot of information to give me.  Ellie did accidentally get the strangles IN in June 2016 as a four year old, which I am assuming happened because it is a big farm and mistakes occur.  I think she was lucky she didn't have any issues, but that's rather here nor there at this point in life!  

Going forward, my vet and I decided it would be best to pull an m-protein to see where her levels are in order to make the best decision.  I guess the test can differentiate between protection from vaccines and an actual case of strangles, and it would give us an idea of how much protection she already has from her strangles exposure.  According to the AAEP, "Following recovery from strangles, most horses develop a durable immunity, persisting in over 75% of animals for 5 years or longer."  So we ran the risk of seriously adverse reactions if we just gave her the strangles IN without knowing her current level of immunity.

I think sn*w fails to be pretty once we hit March...

We even were extra safe about giving Dreamy her strangles IN because we did not want any of it to remotely get near Ellie.  I always do Dreamy's vaccines first, because she has had reactions in the past, the worst being full body hives.  We always do IM banamine before she gets her shots just to be on the safe side.  And at age 27, I feel the more we do to be safe, the better!  So Dreamy got all her shots and we put her back in her stall; then Ellie came out into the aisle for all her shots.  I turned Ellie out in her paddock when we were done, and we brought Dreamy outside and around to the other side of the barn to do just her strangles IN.  And as anyone whose held a horse for a vet giving a strangles IN, the horse generally snorts at least once and you've got to dodge any of the flying vaccine haha.  My vet is especially cautious and warns about getting any of it into one's eyes, as I guess that can be pretty bad.  I took my coveralls directly inside afterwards and washed them, further protecting Ellie from getting any of the vaccine near her.  Was it overkill?  Maybe.  But it was easy enough to take precautions.

I heard back from the vet two days later, on Friday, and her m-protein blood test showed a mild positive.  This indicates she already has an adequate amount of strangles immunity without having the vaccine this year, so we are not going to give it to her.  Next spring we will pull another m-protein, since at that point we will be six years out from her strangles episode, and if she is not adequately protected due to that, I definitely want to make sure she gets the vaccine.  Strangles is too easily caught and spread for me to not do everything I can to keep her (and Dreamy) safe.  Of course, the m-protein test is $125 while the vaccine is only $47 (hahaha my life), but it is always better to spend a little extra and do right by your horse in my opinion.  


Sara said…
Better safe than sorry and it sounds like you have a god routine. I need to get a full work up on my mare this year as she is turning 20 and I want to start her senior years off right.
Nadia Novik said…
We don't see a lot of strangles here (knock on wood) so I never knew that about the m protein test. Super interesting! Glad she still has some immunity.
It is a good routine for my barn and so far, so good! :-)
You are lucky! We deal with strangles here in Maine at least once a year, it seems. Most folks are pretty good at immediate quarantine, but it still makes me nervous. I personally have only dealt with strangles once, back as a kid at the Morgan barn when strangles blew through the barn. I remember that dealing with the snot and abscesses were horrifyingly gross and amazing hahaha. Nothing like cleaning out pus from a draining abscess on the jaws of horses *puke* haha!
And for the record, I didn't know much about the m-protein test either! So glad it was an easy thing to test for and be able to make informed decisions.
L.Williams said…
Ah yes, one time in college I ingested a fair amount of strangles vaccine and horse boogers. Boo. My friends QH always got colic-y after getting vaccinated so they had to be pretty careful, strangles and pigeon fever were too things that inevitably always swung around our part of the state.
The IN strangles always worries me. Not actually for the horses, but for me. I have some skin issues that make me a likely candidate for a reaction. I'm always worried about getting it on me. I usually make my husband hold the horses so that I don't need to be anywhere near it. This year he had to leave and I had to hold Levi so hopefully I didn't get any on me.
Uggg vaccine and boogers, that must've been fun haha! Yeah, so many horses can get some level of reaction for sure. ALways have to be careful!
Pigeon fever is not something we deal with here in the Northeast.
Ohh no fun! I think you would know pretty soon afterwards if you were going to have a reaction. Fingers crossed!
Martidoll said…
Well isnt she a special snowflake :) HA HA HAI am glad you are figuring it all out and keeping her safe :)
TeresaA said…
I always get the strangles vaccine because neither of my horses have had it and there's always a breakout in NS it seems. I don't do it at the same time as the shots to not overtax their systems!
Bahahaha she sure is a special snowflake! I am having anxiety for not vaccinating her even though I KNOW the m-protein is accurate and it would be unsafe to actually give her the (modified live!) vaccine. But it feels so wrong LOL!
Oh yes! Strangles is nothing to fool around with! I think you are smart to split up your vaccines!