I had a horrendous experience two summers ago with a Strangles infection in my horse. It was a calamity of errors due to misdiagnoses (plural intentional) by several different vets, because the symptoms of the illness were “not textbook.” The misdiagnoses prolonged and exacerbated the illness. Strangles (bacterium Streptococcus equi, also known as Equine Distemper), an illness that would normally resolve itself within three weeks, dragged on for three months, escalated in severity and almost killed my horse. I won’t even go into the cost of all of this. The vets involved had thought, in retrospect, about writing papers about the experience because it was “the weirdest thing.” As far as I know, the papers have not been written. A good friend recommended that I take it upon myself write about the experience, just to get the word out and help others that may end up in the same situation. This post will be long and involved, but I feel it’s necessary to get the details out since the situation was so unique and everything turned out to be related in the end.
The beginning of the story actually goes back four years. I was taking riding lessons at a ranch in Elisabeth, Colorado. A horse owner at the ranch had a palomino named Joe that she needed to sell, but was having no luck. She finally told the ranch owner, Teri, that if she were to find someone who would really take good care of Joe, she would consider just giving him away. Continue reading