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5 Strangles Facts for Strangles Awareness Week 2023

The first week of May (1st-7th May) is Strangles Awareness Week. This is a yearly Awareness Week developed by Redwings Horse Sanctuary. It aims to raise awareness of the Strangles disease, give horse owners the tools to spot symptoms and reduce the spread of this disease.

To support this cause I’ve put together 5 Strangles Facts below

1. Strangles is caused by a bacteria called Streptococcus equi. It’s very common, highly infectious and contagious and causes an infection in the horse’s upper respiratory tract.

2. Strangles has signs to look out for. These include:

a. Temperature over 38.5C

b. Being dull/depressed

c. Loss of appetite or difficulty eating

d. Swelling under the jaw, behind the jaw or below the ears

e. Thick, coloured nasal discharge

3. It can take 3-4 days for symptoms to develop. If you start seeing these signs in a horse on the yard, there’s a high chance that it has spread to more than that specific horse. It’s important to keep isolation precautions in place for at least three weeks as there have been cases where it has taken 21 days for symptoms to develop.

4. Horses can be carriers of Strangles. This happens in around 10% of horses who have suffered from Strangles and they continue to carry live bacteria without being infected. These carriers can shed bacteria at any time, but it usually happens at times of high stress such as travelling or moving yards. These carriers can be treated easily once identified and live normal lives.

5. Strangles is spread through contact between horses. If you start to see signs of Strangles on your yard, make sure to put biosecurity procedures in place. This includes telling people that you have Strangles, this reduces the spread of the disease and may reduce the time the isolation procedures are in place. Isolation will involve separating horses into groups of those with symptoms, those who have been in contact with horses showing symptoms and healthy horses. These will be cared for by different groups of people and kept separate from each other.

More information can be found on the Strangles Awareness week page on the Redwings website


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