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Information on Strangles (Equine Distemper)


More at 

http://www.equine-strangles.co.uk 

http://www.horsevet.co.uk/strangles.php

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strangles 

http://www.strangles.org 
 
 


It's not productive to be alarmist about strangles and other infections which can affect horses, but then it is inadvisable to bury one's head in the sand. Strangles is always present in equine populations; luckily the outbreaks are few. But it is incumbent upon all of us to be aware of the dangers and to take precautions to prevent outbreaks from happening in the first place.

Since humans first relied on horses for work and recreation, strangles has been a source of frustration. Caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi (Strep. equi), it is one of the most common equine respiratory infections in the world. The image to the left shows the parts of the respiratory tract affected most.  It can affect horses of all ages and types. The signs of equine strangles include fever, nasal discharge and depression, and abcesses can also develop around the head and neck. The condition is contagious but not infectious, i.e. the bacteria are passed on by touch (including on fence posts, buckets, tack and other inanimate objects that the horse might touch). Horses snorting near each other is less likely to carry the bacteria from one to another.. touching is the problem.

Horses which have apparently recovered continue to be carriers. They can harbour Strep. equi with no outward clinical signs. Consequently, new or recurrent outbreaks are likely unless costly diagnostic procedures and aggressive quarantine measures are used. In our Hodgemoor area, this means that our vigilance against Strangles is ongoing, all the time, not just in the next few weeks abnd not just in the one yard.

Therefore, we advise as follows:
1. Do not touch any horse other than your own. 
2. Do not share tack or equipment with horses of unknown health status
3. Do not admit any horse to your yard unless vetted and certified clear, or unless you can be certain that it will not touch another horse or human.. 
4. When riding with others, and around the yard, do not let horses touch noses (or other parts of the body)
5. Try not to visit other yards yourself, and certainly don’t touch their horses.
6. Ensure that suppliers including farriers and vets touch horses as little as possible and wash frequently with anti-bacterial hand-wash. Do you provide such hand wash in your own facilities? Do it today!
7. Restrict movement of people onto the premises who have arrived from an affected yard
8. Minimise the risk of horses on the yard coming into physical contact with horses on neighbouring yards whose health status is not known 
 

Strangles is not something which casts a bad light on the diligence of the yard in question… it can happen to anyone. But this is an ongoing problem with horses in a high density area like ours and you should continue to follow the above recommendations all the time. Feel free to cut and paste this information into a poster for your yard’s notice board.
 

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