Instore Pickup & Local Delivery


Your Cart is Empty

  • Add description, images, menus and links to your mega menu

  • A column with no settings can be used as a spacer

  • Link to your collections, sales and even external links

  • Add up to five columns

  • May 25, 2023 2 min read

    Strangles in Horses: Understanding the Highly Contagious Equine Disease

    Strangles, a highly contagious bacterial infection, is among the most common and economically significant diseases affecting horses worldwide. Caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi, this disease primarily affects the respiratory system of equines. Its symptoms include fever, swollen lymph nodes, nasal discharge, and difficulty swallowing. Strangles can lead to severe complications if not adequately managed, making it essential for horse owners, veterinarians, and equine professionals to understand this disease comprehensively. In this article, we will delve into the causes, clinical signs, diagnosis, treatment, and prevention strategies associated with strangles in horses.

    Causes of Strangles 

    Strangles is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi, which is highly contagious and primarily spreads through direct or indirect contact with infected horses. The bacteria can survive in the environment for extended periods, allowing transmission through shared water troughs, feed buckets, grooming tools, and even human clothing and hands. Infected horses shed the bacteria through nasal discharge and pus from abscesses, contaminating the surrounding environment.

    Clinical Signs and Complications 

    Upon infection, horses typically develop a fever within 3 to 8 days, followed by nasal discharge and swelling of the lymph nodes in the head and neck region. Affected horses may exhibit difficulty swallowing, resulting in a characteristic cough and a condition known as "strangles." Abscesses often form within the lymph nodes, which can rupture, discharging thick pus.

    Diagnosis and Treatment

    A thorough clinical examination, combined with a detailed history, is crucial in diagnosing strangles. Clinical signs, such as fever, nasal discharge, and swollen lymph nodes, along with a history of exposure to infected horses, can raise suspicion of the disease. Diagnostic tests can confirm the presence of Streptococcus equi bacteria.

    Treatment of strangles primarily involves supportive care, isolation of affected horses, and appropriate antimicrobial therapy prescribed by a veterinarian. The use of antibiotics helps control secondary bacterial infections and may reduce the severity of clinical signs. It is essential to follow the veterinarian's instructions carefully and complete the entire course of treatment.

    Prevention and Control

    Preventing the introduction and spread of strangles is crucial for maintaining a healthy equine population. Implementing good biosecurity practices is vital in reducing the risk of infection. Some preventive measures include:

    Quarantine: Isolate new horses and those returning from events for at least two weeks to monitor them for any signs of illness.

    Hygiene: Practice strict hygiene by washing hands thoroughly and disinfecting equipment, such as brushes, halters, and water buckets, especially after contact with infected horses.

    Vaccination: Consult with a veterinarian regarding the use of commercially available strangles vaccines, as they may help reduce the severity and duration of clinical signs.

    Environmental Management: Minimize contact between horses, regularly clean and disinfect stables and equipment, and separate horses with active infections from healthy ones.

    Surveillance: Monitor horses closely for any signs of illness, promptly report suspected cases to a veterinarian, and avoid attending events or facilities with known outbreaks.

    Strangles is rarely fatal, but deaths have occurred. If you suspect your horse has strangles it is vital to contact a veterinarian without delay. 

    Leave a comment

    Comments will be approved before showing up.