Strangles in Horses

Last Updated on March 15, 2022 by Allison Price

What are Strangles? Strangles is caused by Streptococcus, a bacteria. equi. This is a highly contagious disease that can be transmitted to horses, donkeys, and mules. Young horses are most likely to be affected but it can also affect any age. The horse will experience a fever, a high temperature (>38.3*C), and swelling of the lymph nodes that can lead to rupture and abscess. The pustular material (creamy yellow liquid) found in strangles abscesses is very high in bacteria. Horse-to-horse contact, as well as humans, tack and drinking troughs, can spread the infection. To prevent or reduce the severity of the disease, vaccination is strongly recommended.

Are Horses at Risk?
Strangles may occur in horses of all ages, but horses younger than yearlings or weanlings are more likely to be affected. Most horses are immune to reinfection after an infection. Most horses are immune to re-infection for several years after an infection.

Do Strangles Occur in Other Species of Fish?
Strangles are not a problem in any other species, and should not be considered a threat to humans. Please ensure that you have the proper documentation.
Hygiene, especially washing your hands immediately after handling sick horses and their gear.

Strangles in Horses

Strangles Spread:
The infection can be spread directly from horse-to-horse or by humans moving among horses. Tack, feed buckets water troughs, fences and floats can also be infected. Frost (=0*C should kill the bacteria in the pasture.

Horses don’t have to come in contact with purulent discharge to become infected. This is because horses do not have to come in contact with the purulent discharge. It is possible for horses that appear to be healthy to spread strangles in the environment and infect other horses.

How are Strangles Diagnosed?
The laboratory analysis of strangles can be done via Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), and Culture of the bacteria. Blood may also need to be taken in order to evaluate for inflammation, hydration status, or other conditions in horses suffering from complications.

What are the Treatments for Strangles?
Certain antibiotics can kill bacteria that causes strangles such as Penicillin (TMS) and Sulprim. It can be difficult to determine when antibiotics should be used in strangles cases. A veterinarian is the best person to advise. It is best to avoid antibiotics in severe or complicated cases. They can slow down the resolution of abscesses and increase the risk of spreading to the horse’s entire body (bastard strangles).
Practically, it is important to check your horses’ temperatures at least twice daily in order to detect infection early. Before abscesses develop, it is important to treat horses with antibiotics as soon as possible. In some cases, the abscesses can be so large that horses are at risk of drowning. This is why intensive anti-inflammatory and antibiotic treatment is necessary. Horses who are unappetant might need anti-inflammatory treatment to make them feel better.
The best treatment is to apply heat (hot water bottles, towels) to the swelling.
Abscesses can burst or grow to the size and maturity to allow them to be successfully and safely lanced open. After the abscess has opened, it is important to flush the cavity with dilute povidoneiodine and allow them to heal naturally.

What complications can Strangles cause?
Strangles can be as small as one abscess or large enough to cover a whole plate. The abdomen and chest. It is sometimes called “bastard strangles”. This can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Euthanasia might be the only option.

Sometimes, a horse may become a subclinical long-term carrierof the disease (months to many years), but it does not show any outward signs. The bacteria is usually found in the guttural pouches, which are two empty bags that lie behind the jaw. If examined with a scope, pus might be present. You can also get laboratory samples to confirm their positive results. If chronic carriers are not diagnosed, they can spread the disease to horses by sharing laboratory samples. transport or foaling. The guttural pouches must be removed to stop horses from constantly shedding. Carriers pose a risk to horses if they are not removed.

Although strangles are rarely fatal, they can cause death. Sometimes, horses with strangles can develop a serious condition called “purpura hemorhagica”. This happens because of an unusual immune response to streptococcal bacteria. It causes extensive damage to blood vessels and internal organs. The swelling of the head and limbs can cause small bruises in the mouth. This condition should be treated immediately by a veterinary professional. It can even prove fatal.

What can we do to prevent strangles in our horses?
It is crucial to be aware of the extremely infectious nature of this organism. Good management, quarantine, and biosecurity measures are the key to prevention. Your veterinarian can help you create a management plan that is appropriate for your particular situation. These are some of the key points
Below are the details:

Monitoring of Strangles:
Horses should be checked for fever every day during a disease outbreak. Any temperature rise or other signs such as swollen lymph nodes and dull, decreased appetite, swelling of limbs, etc. should be reported immediately to your veterinarian.

Vaccines to prevent strangles are strongly recommended. A majority of horses who have been vaccinated against strangles will still experience mild symptoms after being exposed. The vaccine can be administered by injection to the muscle. It can also be combined with tetanus (2 in-1).

A course of 3 vaccines should initially be administered, each 2 weeks apart. In horses overdue for vaccination, this may be necessary. Two weeks should pass before immunity to infection is restored.
vaccine. For horses who travel or contact other horses frequently, it is recommended that they receive booster vaccination at least once every 12 months

There are risks associated with vaccination. These include rare cases of purpura hemorhagica. Non-vaccinated horses are at greater risk for purpura haemorrhagica if they contract strangles.

Horses who have been exposed to strangles may not be vaccinated.

Horses who have not been exposed to strangles-infected horses, and have not developed a fever (temperature less than 38.3*C at repeated checks), may be vaccinated in an outbreak. Immunity will not be established for at least 2 weeks after vaccination.

All horses that are brought onto a property should be vaccinated and have their health records. All horses should be allowed to a property, not just in case of an outbreak. All horses should be kept away from other horses, not just in the event of a disease outbreak.

Horses with strangles must be isolated from all other horses immediately. This could mean that there should be a physical boundary between the two groups, such as an empty paddock. Infected horses must have their own water, feed troughs and halters. No equipment should be allowed to touch other horses.

Only one person should take care of the horses affected and keep them away from other horses. If possible, the affected horses should be treated and fed first, then the healthy horses.

Hygiene and Disinfection:
Handlers of sick horses should immediately wash and shower their horses, and then wash their clothes.
After caring for sick horses, disinfect their boots and shoes.

All equipment, stables, fences, trailers, etc. Use a phenolic disinfectant such as Virkon to thoroughly disinfect all equipment, stables, fences, trailers, etc. Virkon. Water troughs, buckets, and fences should be thoroughly disinfected with a phenolic disinfectant, e.g. This is an important factor in controlling the spread of the disease.

Testing to Make Sure the Horse Is Not a Carrier:
To ensure that strangles are not recurred, every horse should be tested again.
Clearance of the bacteria. The procedure involves three repeat tests (PCR or culture of nasal swabs/washes) every 1-2 weeks. Horses who test positive for the bacteria should be scoped to check for pus in their guttural pouches. Horses who are not retested may remain asymptomatic carriers, infecting other horses or becoming sick. Documentation of three negative laboratory tests should be provided before allowing horses onto new properties.

After a full recovery with no further shedding, the horse can be moved to clean pasture. However, strangles remain on pasture for approximately 4 weeks.

Allison Price
Allison Price

I’m Allison, born and raised in San Diego California, the earliest memory I have with horses was at my grandfather’s farm. I used to sit at the stable as a kid and hang out with my Papa while he was training the horses. When I was invited to watch a horse riding competition, I got so fascinated with riding!