African Horse Sickness
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Hi, I lost 2 horses in 2006, the first an Anglo-Arab colt of 3 years in January and the second an Arab filly of almost 2 years in May. Tests were done by Onderstepoort and the results were that it might be African Horse Sickness. They where also tested for the Herpes virus but in both cases the results where negative. The symptoms where the following: - High temperature of 41°C – 42 °C - Very little swelling of the temples above the eyes. - The tong was swelled up and blue/purple and the horse’s breath smelled extremely bad and the first horse had little sores on his tong and in his mouth and due to this reason the vet had him tested for Herpes as well. None of the horse sounded if they had problem breathing. - A few hours before the horse died its temperature went down to about 36°C The state vet took some samples of the last horse’s brain, liver, kidney, lungs, milt, heart and some stomach tissue after she died. I was present when she was cut open and when we looked at her tong it wasn’t swollen or blue/purple any more and her airway and lungs didn’t smell at all. This really confused me a lot as I phoned a lot of people and did some reading in Veterinarian books and couldn’t find any kind of disease with the same kind of symptoms. I would appreciate it if you can tell me what you think of the symptoms and if it could have been horse sickness or if not what other disease it could be. I never want to loose a horse that way again as it is heart braking to see them like this and you’ve done every thing possible to save them and still it didn’t work! Regards Janet ?

Asked: 6/3/2008, 09:57 by Janet Labuschagne.
Answered: 12/3/2008, 19:29 by Douglas Welsh.

Firstly it does not sound like horse sickness. The smelly breath is from Stomatitis, but I’m afraid I do not know the cause in this case.Was a diagnosis ever made from the samples taken?

 Chances are it was some form of Toxicity, but again, I cant help you with exactly what, as we are just guessing.

 Please let me know if you have any more cases.

 Kind regards,

 Dr. Dave Mullins


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