This has been on several lists, and we have rumor proofed it, So, be aware.

This gets more urgent by the moment so I am posting everywhere and suggest cross posting. I am in SW Virginia, but this seems to be wide spread. As many of you know, we lost Whisper our PMU mare a week ago and had two other horses that we successfully treated. Now I am finding out about horses dying all around the area. I have almost lost count. Tragically I have just now learned of another death to this and almost all were treated for the wrong things. We suspect botulism but this has not been confirmed yet. We suspect this disease is related to feeding round bales, and possibly the extremely wet conditions of the past year. Most these horses are dying because the symptoms are not being recognized early or are being treated as colic or something else. To save a horse you MUST catch this right away and you must hit them with antibiotics. Naxcel is known to work, but Penicillin may also be affective. Here are things to watch for:


Symptoms:

Mimic both colic and neurological damage. It causes damage to intestines and swelling of stomach. It also causes damage to the brain and spinal cord but these can only be seen if cultured. A single strange gesture, turning head sideways while lying down, missteps, a weird stretch or lurch are most common first warnings and are easily overlooked. They are not repeated at first. Blood work will show lymphocytes dropping first, then elevated white count and other indications of infection. The next stage is lack of appetite. Dehydration and aversion to water. Difficulty swallowing. Chewing but not swallowing. The final stage included shivering, immobility or falling down, difficulty getting up and seizures. Temperature is normal or even low and heart rate may not be elevated as would be expected. This leads vets to assume colic and treat with mineral oil. Treating for EPM is ineffective as well.