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Strangles Awareness

Strangles is one of the most common worldwide equine diseases. Caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi (S.equi), it’s highly contagious and can easily be spread through direct contact between horses, or indirectly through humans and equipment, although strangles does not affect people.

Clinical signs include:

  • Depression and dullness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nasal discharge
  • Development of a cough
  • Fever
  • Swelling of the lymph nodes (glands) under the jaw or on the neck approximately a week after the onset of clinical signs.

The abscesses which cause the lymph nodes to swell often burst, discharging highly infectious, thick, creamy-yellow pus. In some cases the glands swell so much they restrict the airway, hence the term strangles.

For more information on strangles, email or call 02476 840575 or 02476 840571.

Our strangles campaign, launched in February 2007 with the Animal Health Trust, is aimed at educating horse owners to recognise the signs of strangles and how to cope with an outbreak. The contagious nature of the disease means that quick diagnosis and effective isolation procedures are essential.

The aim of this joint campaign was the target of raising £250,000. To date, more than £160,000 has been raised and a new blood test has been developed and launched in March 2008. Research and evaluation continues into an intramuscular strangles vaccine.

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