Bahrain Disease Identified as Glanders

Glanders has been identified as the culprit in Bahrain, where veterinarians have had to euthanize eight horses in three weeks, reports the Gulf Daily News. The bacterial infection is highly contagious and affects primarily horses, donkeys, and mules, though humans can contract the disease.

Dr. Salman Abdul Nabi, Bahrain's Municipalities and Agriculture Ministry livestock director, said that horses in the country were being examined for signs of glanders. He reported that blood samples from more than 400 horses had been sent to a specialist in the United Arab Emirates and that the results give officials confidence that this is a small outbreak. The government quickly allocated funds to manage the situation. About a dozen horses showed signs of the disease, according to Abdul Nabi, and some were already recovering.

Two horses initially died of the disease when it was first discovered in Bahrain in mid-April. The government at that time instituted a ban on horse movement and barred them from taking part in competitions. Those restrictions reportedly remained in place as of April 26.

Scott Weese, DVM, on the University of Guelph's EquID Blog cautions that because horses transmit glanders from close contact with other horses, it is imperative to identify any animals that have been exposed. He noted that people who work with infected animals could pass glanders on through their clothing or instruments.

The Kingdom of Bahrain, home to about 6,500 horses, is an archipelago of 36 islands in the Persian Gulf off the eastern coast of Saudi Arabia and is about four times the size of Washington, D.C.

About the Author

Tracy Gantz

Tracy Gantz is a freelance writer based in Southern California. She is the Southern California correspondent for The Blood-Horse and a regular contributor to Paint Horse Journal, Paint Racing News, and Appaloosa Journal.

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