Strangles

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    This article has been edited and approved by Karen Coumbe MRCVS, H&H’s veterinary advisor since 1991.
  • Strangles is one of the most common infectious equine diseases in horses in the UK. It is a highly contagious infection of the upper respiratory tract caused by the bacteria Strep. equi (Streptococcus equi subspecies equi).

    Horses, ponies and donkeys of all types and ages can be affected, but young horses typically develop more severe signs.

    Strangles in horses [1,086 words]: Signs | Spread | Diagnosis | Treatment | Complications | During an outbreak | Aftercare | Prevention

    Signs of strangles

    A horse with strangles will typically have a temperature (above 38.5°C), depression with a loss of appetite, and thick, yellow mucus draining from both nostrils. Hot, painful abscesses may develop on the sides of the head and throat, which may burst and discharge pus. The horse may experience difficulty eating or extending his head, due to the discomfort in its throat, hence the name strangles.