EQUINE STRANGLES Advice on the Current Outbreak

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Outbreak of Strangles in the Practice Area

Following the significant outbreak of a Strangles in the practice area we are getting many calls from concerned clients worried about how it can be prevented and how it may affect their horse.

Advice from Fellowes Farm

We have attached at the bottom of this page three pdf documents which are our own Factsheet on Strangles and two guides, one on vaccinating horses against Strangles and the other on prevention and management of Strangles.

Strangles - The Disease

Strangles is a highly contagious infectious disease in horses worldwide and it is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi subsp. equi. It is one of the most common bacterial equine respiratory infections and may cause major economic losses to the equine industry due to its prolonged course, recovery period and associated complications. It is accompanied by fever, purulent nasal discharge and abscesses in the head and neck regional lymph nodes. Mortality is rare, but up to ten percent of recovered animals become chronic carriers of the bacteria and subsequently can spread the disease.

Vaccination - Vaccine available now

A vaccine called Equilis StrepE is available in the UK to aid in the management and prevention of strangles. It can be used in horses from four months of age and is administered through a submucosal injection in the upper lip of the horse and provides immunity following two initial injections, four weeks apart. The vaccine significantly reduces clinical signs of strangles and occurrence of lymph node abscesses in horses that are at risk of infection. Re-vaccination is required with boosters every six months - this interval can be reduced in the face of increased risk.

In situations where vaccination is deemed to be useful it is important that all horses on the yard are vaccinated. This will help to develop herd immunity and lower the infectious challenge. It is important to note that the vaccine is a tool in strangles management and is not a replacement for good stable management and biosecurity.

For further information you can also take a look at http://www.equine-strangles.co.uk/