A charity that rescues moorland ponies on Bodmin has put in place self-imposed quarantine measures after an outbreak of strangles was confirmed on the yard.
“This is a devastating blow for a small charity like ourselves particularly coming into winter,” said Shelley Oldfield, who founded Bodmin Moorland Pony Rehabilitation four years ago.
Emergency bio security measures were put into place after Storm, a 15-month-old 11hh colt was diagnosed with strangles on 17 November.
The youngster had a slight runny nose and looked a bit under the weather but had no other major symptoms of the disease.
Inititally the vet thought it he was suffering from a post-viral infection after being castrated a few weeks earlier, but when routinely tested was found to have strangles.
The charity has no idea where the disease came from as Storm has been with them for some time.
Further tests have confirmed four of the nine other ponies on the yard have now contracted the infection.
The positive cases are having regular guttural flushing to test and clear the infection. This will be ongoing until all the ponies are given the all-clear and the yard is able to lift the quarantine measures.
“We need three consecutive weekly results from the last positive test identified to lift the quarantine,” said Ms Oldfield.
“The outbreak couldn’t have happened at a worst time. All deliveries need to be dropped off away from the yard and no other ponies can be taken in or rehomed.”
A horse stabled at the venue had been exposed to the highly contagious infection
"Imagine how much better off we would be if we knew where the other outbreaks and infectious diseases are"
The charity has 14 ponies kept on another site, all of which are showing no signs of any symptoms but there are reports of other suspected cases in north Cornwall.
“Strangles is such a taboo subject but if treated responsibly it can be managed,” said Ms Oldfield. “Storm is fine now and happily skipping about in the field.”
The charity has launched a crowdfunding appeal to help cover the escalating vets’ bills. Initial tests have been covered by donations from loyal supporters.
“We’re a tiny charity, but the support we’ve had has been overwhelming,” said Ms Oldfield.
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