The final strangles quarantine zones at Redwings Horse Sanctuary have been lifted this week.

Strangles broke out at the charity’s Norfolk headquarters in February (news, 9 April 2015).

The quarantine at Redwings’ Hapton site was lifted in June, but its Piggots Farm base remained under quarantine until Tuesday (8 September).

Movement restrictions between and within its five sites have also now been lifted, and all movements around its horse hospital have returned to normal.

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At the height of the outbreak, 24 horses tested positive for the disease.

Nine quarantine zones were in operation, which cost more than £4,000 a week on feed, test results and equipment.

As a precaution, the charity also stopped rehoming operations and temporarily shut its Ada Cole visitor centre in Essex.

“The strangles outbreak has been one of the biggest challenges we have faced in our 30-year history,” said the charity’s chief executive Lynn Cutress.

“I’d like to thank our supporters — new and long-standing — for their support and understanding during this extraordinary time.”

She added she would also like to thank their “amazing staff”.

“Strangles has affected so many areas of our work, but our teams have stood steadfast and remained positive throughout. I am so proud of each and every one of them,” she said.

All new equine arrivals are put into quarantine and this was the first time in 23 years that Redwings has had a strangles outbreak among its resident horses.

The charity cares for more than 1,500 horses across its sites and has a further 500 living out in guardian homes.

Strangles is a highly contagious infection of the upper respiratory tract. Signs vary between mild to severe and are not always typical.

A horse with strangles will typically have a temperature (above 38.5°C), loss of appetite, depression and thick, yellow mucus draining from his nostrils. Abscesses may also develop on the sides of head and throat.