The Mare and Foal Sanctuary has closed the doors of both its rehabilitation centres after confirmed cases of strangles.
The charity issued a statement today (13 February) stating that the disease has been diagnosed in horses at its yards Honeysuckle Farm, Newton Abbot, and Upcott Park, near Holsworthy.
No horses will arrive or leave at either site until they are clear of the infection.
Mare and Foal Sanctuary managing director Syra Bowden said: “Working with rescue horses means we have to be realistic and know that we will see strangles again and again.
“Our priority is to treat the horses currently at risk and minimise potential for disease spread.
“We see horses with all kinds of veterinary conditions, and each new horse that comes in to our care receives a thorough veterinary evaluation, part of which is to be screened for contagious diseases while undergoing a period of quarantine.
“As a result of identifying strangles we have implemented further strict biosecurity measures developed alongside our vet, which we have every confidence in.”
All the charity’s other sites are unaffected, including its visitor and events centre at Coombe Park which is open for business as usual, including events, clinics and arena hire.
“As a reputable welfare charity we have a responsibility to be transparent and accountable regarding our quarantine measures, and to lead by example in educating others with regard to disease containment and control,” Ms Bowden said.
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“We encourage anyone affected to speak out about strangles. It is the most commonly diagnosed equine infectious disease in the world and can affect any horse and any owner.
“We’re speaking out and we would like to thank everyone for their support.”