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A veterinary case out of the UK has produced a new way to treat horses with strangles. Typically, this highly contagious and potentially fatal disease is treated by repeatedly flushing the horse’s guttural pouch to remove infected material, and administering a slow-setting penicillin and gelatin solution into the pouch. It is an awkward and lengthy process.

Recently, Dr. Mark Bowen of Oakham Veterinary Hospital in Leicestershire, England, attempted a novel approach using a specially made penicillin in a gel formulation from a reverse thermodynamic agent, which is a liquid when cool, but solidifies when warm. A similar concoction has been used to treat a type of inflammation of the ear canal in dogs.

Dr. Bowen was able to administer it to his patient’s guttural pouch through an adapted uterine catheter. He reports that the gel partially set in just over four minutes. After three days of consecutive treatments, three weekly guttural pouch lavages performed starting one week after the last treatment revealed that the infection had been eradicated.