Anthrax is a rare disease in horses, and more common in food animals. It is a rapidly fatal blood disease caused by a spore-forming bacterium (Bacillus anthracis), which is typically found in warm geographic areas with moist, alkaline soil that favors the organism.
The spores are extremely resistant to temperature extremes and most disinfectants. They can survive in the environment for decades. Horses usually develop Anthrax after eating the spores in the soil, and die within 2-8 days.
Anthrax is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be transferred from an infected horse to humans. If you have been exposed to a horse with (or suspected of having) anthrax you should contact your doctor immediately. For this reason, post-mortem examination is potentially dangerous.
Anthrax is a reportable disease, meaning that if a horse has or is suspected of having this disease, vets are required to report it to agricultural authorities (usually the State Veterinarian). These authorities may investigate the case as part of a larger effort to monitor equine health and coordinate with other States and the USDA APHIS in preventing the spread of illness or disease on a national and international level.
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Guarded if caught early and treated aggressively. Early treatment with penicillin is said to be effective if the disease is promptly diagnosed.
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