Rattles is a lung disease of foals that causes infection and abscesses in the lungs. First discovered in Sweden in 1923 it causes significant losses to the equine industry. The sound made by affected foals gives the disease its common name Rattles.
Rhodococcus equi (R. equi) is the scientific name for the bacterium that causes Rattles. Dry/dusty paddocks and yards where more horses mingle together is associated with an increased presence of the disease.
Scientific research in 2017 showed that R. equi was inhibited by Bacillus subtilis. The same research showed other bacteria causing dangerous horse diseases to be inhibited by Bacillus subtilis were Clostridium difficile, Clostridium perfringens, Streptococcus equi and Salmonella typhimurium.
Initial work in 2019/2020 on a thoroughbred stud in the Hunter Valley found a decrease in incidence of Rattles in foals where the dams were fed Dynavyte MicroBiome Support (MBS) for the last month or two before foaling.
R. equi is found in the manure of horses and this is the main source of infection. The Dynavyte Vet thinks that a possible way that Dynavyte MBS may benefit is through the gut of the horse reducing R. equi spread in the yards and paddocks.