Druse in horses information treatment masterhorse

An old acquaintance: Druse in the horse Druse we riders – fortunately – often know only from learning the theoretical knowledge for various riding badges. It is primarily associated with a disease that used to be very prevalent in horse stables. A disease we think is actually nearly extinct.

But unfortunately it appears again and again. Patients suffering from druse are regularly treated in the veterinary university clinics. What at first sight seems like a harmless cold – some coughing, slight nasal discharge, elevated temperature – can unfortunately end with serious consequences if mismanaged.

Druse – what is behind it?

In the Druse is a highly contagious, febrile infectious disease. The pathogen is called Streptococcus equi subsp. equi. Has the Druse in one Horse at Stable If the virus has "settled in", it often spreads rapidly in the herd – either directly from nose to nose / nose to mouth or indirectly via the grooming staff, shared troughs or water buckets, bits that are used by several horses together, nesting sponges, etc. In general, a horse remains contagious for four to 14 days, some animals still excrete the bacterium after six weeks.

The Risk of infection is transmitted both by ill Horses as well as by horses that are already in the healing phase. In addition, in up to 10% of affected animals, the body's immune system does not completely eliminate the Druse bacterium from the organism. This can mean that the once diseased horses also become permanent excretors.

Accordingly, the risk of infection remains, because in these horses the bacteria retract into the air sacs, now and then also into the paranasal sinuses. From there, the horse occasionally excretes them in small amounts. Thus, the druse can manifest itself over a very long period of time in the herd. Horses considered most susceptible to infection with druse are young horses up to two years of age, seniors, horses that have been recently vaccinated or have suffered from other diseases.

How to recognize druse disease?

In most cases, the Druse pathogen enters the horse's organism via the upper respiratory tract and – after an incubation period of three to eight days – fights its way from there to its target site, the nearby lymph nodes. The first signs are small inflammatory lesions on the mucous membrane. Furthermore, affected horses secrete greenish-yellowish mucus through their nostrils, the animals appear dull and exhausted, they suffer from fever (40.0-41.5°C), have no appetite, the throat is inflamed and the lymph nodes on the lower jaw as well as on the stomachs swell considerably, as purulent abscesses form here.

In the further course of the disease, these break through the skin between the so-called mandibular branches and empty themselves. In other places, not visible from the outside, these abscesses can also empty into the air sac, which leads to the (purulent) nasal secretions or escaping pus being heavily contaminated with pathogens. In such animals, other horses can very quickly become directly infected.

The inflammation can spread from the lymph nodes on the head and the respiratory tract to other lymph nodes; purulent changes in many body regions and organs are possible consequences. In addition to severe fevers, affected horses often show signs of colic. In pregnant mares, foaling can occur as a result of a druse infection.

Good to knowHorses carrying bacteria in their air sacs and excreting them again and again, as mentioned above, do not always show symptoms typical of druse. In their context, the term "cold druse" is often used, since the horses rarely suffer from fever and only occasionally show nasal discharge. In general, the symptoms of all horses infected with druse are only visible for a short period of time.

Infected with druse – what to do?

A reliable diagnosis can only be made with the help of a veterinarian / samples sent to a laboratory (in the form of nasal swabs or collected pus). But beware: a negative test does not clearly reveal whether the horse has already passed through the infection or whether it is still susceptible to the infection. Therefore, in any case, the suspected animals should first be isolated, immobilized and spared.

The veterinarian decides whether antibiotics are really necessary, depending on the severity of the disease and / or abscess formation. If the pus sacs swell to such an extent that the respiratory tract is drastically narrowed, action should be taken quickly in any case. This can be recognized quickly, because in this case the horses often stretch their head and neck to relieve the respiratory tract. They can hardly eat and drink.

In most cases, druse heals without further damage to the horse. However, complications can also occur: Heart muscle inflammation, phlegmons (fluid retention in the tie), laryngeal whistling, breathing sounds, anemia or pus-filled air sacs.

Help with home remedies

Warm compresses / wraps can accelerate the maturation of the pus abscesses in the lymph nodes. In this way you can also help the lymph nodes to open outwards and the pus to drain away.

In addition, the warm compresses relieve the pain. Proven for this purpose are for example

– warm mashed potatoes, which are filled into a jute bag and attached to the horse's neck with a woolen blanket – electric blankets – warming ointments (z.B. with camphor)

From earlier times one knows also still the "Drusenlappen". These were linen bags filled with linseed meal, marshmallow powder, bran and oat groats.

– INFO TO GO – Druse in horses: – Although druse is not a notifiable disease, it is a rapidly spreading, highly infectious disease that can be fatal. – In case of suspicion, the veterinarian should be consulted immediately. In the unfavorable case of a druse outbreak, he can quickly recommend the most sensible quarantine measures and decide on a possible treatment. – Bacteria are excreted with the nasal secretions for up to three weeks after the end of the clinical symptoms. In individual cases, however, elimination can occur up to 36 months or longer after the end of the disease. Control of druse on the farm can therefore take several months.


How to contain the spread of druse in a stable?

After an infection, animals in most cases develop immunity. Nevertheless, caution is advised, because about 25% of the animals remain susceptible in the first months after infection. Therefore, in the event of an outbreak of druse, good "crisis management" is necessary. Druse is currently neither notifiable nor reportable, i.e. in case of an outbreak of the disease no official measures for control have to be fulfilled.

However, as druse is a highly contagious disease, optimal coordination is necessary on the farm. This is the only way to contain druse as quickly as possible. The farm becomes pathogen-free again. The University of Veterinary Medicine in Munich recommends that the entire area of an affected stable should be treated in three zones should be classified:

the red area (stable area where active excretors are located) the yellow zone (horses that have had contact with red area excretors) the green area (no eliminators) The barn operator must manage these three areas under Observe strict adherence to hygiene protocols; even if this can seem somewhat complicated at first glance when unforeseen cases occur: Diseased horses and excretors, should they be discovered later in their group, must be isolated immediately: For example, if an excretor is in a 'green area', it must immediately move to the red area.

The former green area is now declared a yellow area. If a horse was classified as an excretor in the red area and is considered healthy after three negative secretion samples, it still goes back to the yellow area first and not directly back to a green area.

The reason for this is the fact that the excretion of pathogens does not necessarily end when the disease is over (symptom-free). Only after several examination runs can the attending veterinarian declare horses healthy. To prevent a new outbreak of druse, stable hygiene in the yard and paddocks should not be underestimated. Actually the Druse bacteria can be killed very well by the usual disinfectants. Are rapidly inactivated by soil bacteria in the environment. However, there remains a risk that under unfavorable circumstances (e.g. B. on smooth surfaces or in wet, damp places) survive for some time (up to 48 days under experimental conditions). It is also important not to use contaminated paddocks for at least one month.

The right druse prophylaxis – MASTERHORSE expert tip

With regard to prophylaxis, it should be known that druse breaks out more frequently when there is a high occupancy rate in the stable, in cooler seasons, in stables with a lot of horse turnover, after gatherings of horses from different stables (tournaments, sales stables, rearing stables) or when bridles, troughs or drinking troughs are shared.

In the best case, an intact immune system can protect a horse from infection; in general, druse is less of a problem for horses with a good body defense system. In this case, horses can be supported very well through feeding – for example, with special herbal mixtures that strengthen the body's defenses. In MASTERHORSE range you will find the RESISTANT. Either in pellet form or as cut herbs, rosehip, chamomile, echinacea, Iceland moss and hawthorn strengthen the horses' resistance to infection.Especially in times of increased risk of infection, horses benefit from this mixture: Scientific studies have confirmed that secondary plant compounds from echinacea and rosehip, for example, can effectively inhibit the growth of bacteria.

Also a supplementary feeding of MASTERHORSE ZINC-PRO or MASTERHORSE ZINC TABS proves useful in the case of druse. It supports not only the defense, but also the regeneration of the skin, from which horses with irritated or inflamed mucous membranes benefit.

In order to bring the immune system back up to speed after the disease, the feeding of MASTERHORSE CHLORELLA at. It is rich in natural vital substances, which horses need for an active immune system. The unique amino acid composition of this microalgae also specifically promotes the muscle development of horses, which is useful in many cases after a long period of rest.

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