Stran­gles in horses

Wangaratta Chronicle - North East Regional Extra - - Vest Corner/Feature Story - Dr An­nette Kelle­her, vet­eri­nar­ian

STRAN­GLES is a highly con­ta­gious dis­ease in horses, ponies and don­keys caused by the bac­te­ria Strep­to­coc­cus equi.

Horses that con­tract stran­gles most com­monly dis­play signs such as fever, nasal dis­charge and swelling around the throat area.

This swelling may turn into an ab­scess that may burst and dis­charge pus.

Stran­gles can be spread by con­tact with in­fected horses and by shar­ing buck­ets, tack, human cloth­ing, feed and pas­tures.

If you suspect your horse has stran­gles, the vet should be con­tacted so an ac­cu­rate di­ag­no­sis can be made.

Stran­gles can be treated with peni­cillin, although not all horses re­quire an­tibi­otics to re­cover.

Other treat­ments can in­clude rest and anti in­flam­ma­to­ries, and if ab­scesses burst, clean­ing them with an an­ti­sep­tic so­lu­tion such as io­dine.

In Victoria stran­gles is a no­ti­fi­able dis­ease, af­fected horses should be kept iso­lated from healthy horses and care should be taken to pre­vent con­tam­i­nated ma­te­ri­als be­ing shared with healthy horses.

A stran­gles vac­ci­na­tion is avail­able, it doesn’t al­ways pre­vent dis­ease in all horses but it can as­sist in re­duc­ing the du­ra­tion and sever­ity of the dis­ease and also help re­duce stran­gles spread­ing in a dis­ease out­break.

An ini­tial course of three in­jec­tions two weeks apart is nec­es­sary.

Booster vac­ci­na­tions are rec­om­mended ev­ery six months as the du­ra­tion of im­mu­nity fol­low­ing vac­ci­na­tion is short.

Horses should not be vac­ci­nated while ac­tively in­fected.

There have re­cently been sev­eral stran­gles out­breaks re­ported in the rac­ing in­dus­try and we all have to be mind­ful when tak­ing our horses out to club days and com­pe­ti­tions to try and pre­vent dis­eases such as stran­gles from spread­ing.

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