Page 4 - XLEquine - Plan Prevent Protect - Biosecurity Booklet

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Disease causing agent
bacteria -
Streptococus equi
Incubation period
2-21 days
contact with infected discharges between horses and via water troughs
and mangers
easily spread by contaminated clothing and utensils
horses can be silent carriers of the bacteria
Signs you will see
classical signs of fever, loss of appetite, depression, cough, thick nasal
discharge (figure 2) and pain, swelling and abscess formation in the
lymph nodes under the jaw and in the throat region are most commonly
seen in younger horses
milder signs of short term fever, dullness, loss of appetite and mild nasal
discharge are increasingly common and may be evidence of a previous
or ongoing infection
some cases can have serious complications, including death:
- “bastard” strangles is caused by the spread of bacteria and abscess
formation in different areas of the body
Purpura haemorrhagica
is inflammation of the blood vessels with fluid
swelling (oedema) of the limbs, sheath and under the belly and small
areas of bleeding or bruising on the mucous membranes of the gums
and eyes
bacterial detection on nasopharyngeal swabs, guttural pouch washes
(figure 3) and fluid collected from an abscess
blood test for raised or rising antibodies
can be difficult and may require multiple tests
nursing care and anti-inflammatory medication
antibiotic use is controversial and may delay abscess bursting and
increase the risk of complications (cases should be individually assessed)
hot packs can encourage abscess bursting and drainage; and cleaning
and flushing will speed the resolution
following recovery, a guttural pouch wash (figure 3) should be performed
to confirm resolution of infection; bacteria can be carried silently at this
site for months or years
strict biosecurity policies including:
- quarantine new horses for three weeks prior to entry to the yard
- new horses should have a clear blood test in the week preceding entry
onto the main yard
- routine screening blood tests of horses to identify carriers
when an outbreak is confirmed or strongly suspected:
- close the yard to prevent horses leaving and alert all visitors to the yard
- institute the protocol for dealing with an outbreak of infectious disease
- unless the source is clear, investigation should be carried out to identify
and treat carriers of the bacteria
vaccine available in the UK which reduces severity of signs; use may be
recommended in some yards following a specific risk assessment
refer to HBLB Strangles guidelines in the Codes of Practice (http://codes. and Strategy to eradicate and prevent Strangles (STEPS at
Common contagious equine diseases in the UK
Plan. Prevent. Protect
Figure 3
Strangles carriers can be identified
by a guttural pouch wash using an
endoscope and catheter to flush
and collect fluid from the pouches
in the throat.
Figure 2
Nasal discharge and raised
temperature can be signs of
infectious respiratory disease.