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Rhinopneumonitis: Can Be Deadly?

Updated: Mar 13, 2023


Rhinopneumonitis is a viral infection that affects mainly young horses (after weaning) and pregnant mares. Occurring most often in late fall and early winter, rhinopneumonitis is not considered exceedingly dangerous in weanlings, though there may be high incidence of abortions in affected mares. The disease is characterized by fever (102-105*F), nasal discharge. cough, swelling of the eyelids, inflammation of the upper respiatory passages, and lack of appetite (all of which will increase in severity after exercise). Like many other respiratory conditions, rhinopneumonitis is easily transmitted from the infected animal to other animals by direct exposure, inhalation of discharges, and ingestion of contaminated materials.

When the veterinarian has diagnosed rhinopneumonitis, he may suggest antibacterial treatment to prevent secondary infection and prescribe a period of rest. In the likelihood of an outbreak, the veterinarian may vaccinate all horses which are likely to be affected and quarantine any new horses for a two-week period.




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