Three cases of strangles have been confirmed in ponies on Bodmin Moor.

Horse owners in the West Country are being urged to look out for signs of the highly contagious infectious disease.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary — which suffered an outbreak itself earlier this year — is supplying strangles information to be distributed to horse owners in the area.

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A spokeswoman for the charity said: “We are aware that three cases of strangles have been confirmed in the Minions area of Bodmin Moor.

We are encouraging calm among owners of horses on the moor and surrounding areas, but we would ask everyone to be vigilant and take reasonable precautions to help prevent any spread of the disease.”

She added it is “vital” to call a vet if you think your horse or pony may be showing signs.

Signs of strangles can vary from mild to severe and are not always typical.

Usually, a horse with the condition will have a temperature of more than 38.5 degrees, depression, loss of appetite and thick, yellow mucus coming from the nostrils.

Painful, hot abscesses may appear on the sides of the head and throat, which may burst – discharging puss.

Horses may also have difficulty eating or extending their head.

The disease is spread through contact with infected mucus, either directly between horses or indirectly with contaminated objects such as water containers.

It is not airborne and is not infectious to humans or other animals.

The spokeswoman said that although dogs cannot act as carriers, they can physically spread the disease via their bodies and urged dog walkers to be vigilant and heed any warning notices.

“We are happy to support the Bodmin Moor Shadow Commons Council having worked together on several rescue operations, including that of the recent Poldark Ponies in April 2015,” she added.

Julie Dowton, secretary to the Bodmin Moor Commoners and the Association of Bodmin Moor Commons Landowners is coordinating efforts to contain the disease.

Ms Dowton said the ponies with strangles have been removed from the moor.

“We have no ponies on the area of moor we are talking about with any signs of strangles at all,” she said.

Contact Julie for information on 07703468628 or juliedowton@btinternet.com.