Two weeks ago Venda turned 6 months old and Finland had its 100 year birthday (independence day) a week later. We finally had snow. Magical times. Or not. Last Friday our stables was put into quarantine.

The day before farrier visited. Venda had her hooves trimmed, she acted like a pro. Yes, she has a temper, but she still is a little trooper after making everyone know what her opinion is. Viikari on the other hand is every farriers dream customer. Yet he was reluctant to lift his feet.

Early next morning thermometer beeped the reality to my face, Viikari had 41°C fever. He hadn't eaten anything during the night. His bucket was full of water. It felt quite obvious. Strangles was happening all over Finland.

Before 6 in the morning I made a decision to put the stable into quarantine. I informed my customers about the situation, I called the farrier to let him know and I advised the neighbors to keep a close look on their horses. Viikari was isolated as well as possible in a small stable like ours.

It was quite a show. One entry was closed for any traffic in or out. Virkon S, an effective disinfectant, was used on everything between everything. We had bowls filled with it to prevent any bacteria transmitting via shoes. I changed my clothes between everything I did. I showered several times a day. Viikari had his own wheelbarrow, muck fork, thermometer, hay, buckets and so on.

Since I had handled Viikari, someone else had to take care of Vipsu and Venda. Just to be sure.

The vet visited us around nine in the morning. She agreed about the quarantine and about the likelihood of strangles. Before we knew anything for sure, we had to act as it was strangles. Gladly the blood tests showed it was an virus infection. Did I say gladly? No matter what it was, it was infectious and serious.

Viikari went into such bad shape in just few hours, he had to be given few liters of IV fluids. More water was given through nasogastric tube. He also got inflammatory medicine to help with the high fever.

There were moments when he seemed to be hallucinating. He got a bit more alert after getting the fluids and medication, but he could hardly stand. He tried to eat little hay, but his appetite seemed to stay away most of the time.

The high fever lasted two days. Even after the fever went down, he seemed painful and weak. I took him out for a little stroll. Just to give him a bit of fresh air. The next day I let him stay out most of the day. In his own, isolated, pen. He wasn't drinking and he hardly ate.

I tried everything I could think of. Fresh water, cold water, warm water and all the mentioned with different flavoring. I tried mash, crushed flax, salt, molasses, haypellets, honey, sugar, pineapple juice, raspberry juice, strawberry juice, carrot juice and so on. He tasted them all, but refused to drink more than a gulp.

I even fed him watermelon. Not a success.

I was so desperate I carried him snow inside. He tasted it, played with it for a while and ended up losing all the interest in less than ten minutes.

To make things a little bit harder, I was feverish myself. After two days I felt fainting. But to be fair, it was the least of my problems. Maybe Viikari thought, I needed all the hydrating juices more, and left them to me instead ;)

Last night his water bucket was half empty! He was asking for food but didn't eat hay (any kind), just the porridge I made out of hay pellets and flax. So we're not out of the woods yet but I pray this is the first step to a better tomorrow.

Quarantine will go on for at least few days. Just to be sure..

- J

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Thanks for your toughts!