British Horse Society Scotland
takes on fight against Strangles
has experienced an alarming increase in the number of Strangles outbreaks this year and The British Horse Society is urging
horse owners and yard managers to take strict biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of this distressing and highly contagious
The BHS is also actively lobbying for the status of Strangles
in Scotland - which attacks horses, ponies and donkeys - to
be adjusted so that outbreaks must be made public.
BHS Scotland Development Officer Helene Mauchlen said 10 percent
of yards in Scotland have been affected by Strangles this
She said: “Where yard managers take all the precautions
and advice recommended by vets, and by the Horserace Betting Levy Board, they can quickly be clear of the disease. Strangles can be very distressing for the animal and owner. The disease is highly contagious, so those
responsible for equines should be extra-vigilant and carry out good hygiene practices to help prevent this disease from spreading.
If owners are concerned about their horses, they should contact their vet immediately.”
BHS Scotland is lobbying the Scottish Parliament to have a Strangles
biosecurity code created under the new Animal Health and Welfare Act 2006, which becomes law next month (October). Strangles
will be the main subject of discussion at the next meeting of the Cross Party Group on Animal Welfare.
The BHS is working closely with the Animal Health Trust on a programme
to find a fully effective vaccine for Strangles.
Strangles is an infection of the equine lymph glands. The swollen
glands can restrict the airways, hence the name strangles. It is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus Equi and is highly
infectious and contagious. The disease is more prevalent and more serious than many horse owners appreciate.
While Strangles is not currently a notifiable disease, it is strongly
advised that owners and carers should act responsibly and inform other horse owners of any suspected or confirmed cases to
help to prevent further spread of this disease. The incubation period is usually about a week but may take as long as two
weeks before any clinical signs are shown.
In very mild cases, there may only be slight nasal discharge but
- in more severe cases - this can extend to swollen glands, coughing, excessive nasal discharge, raised temperatures, breathing
and swallowing difficulties and abscessed lymph nodes.
At the first sign of any of the above symptoms, horse owners or
carers should isolate the horse and contact their vet immediately. Any horse, pony or donkey which the infected animal has
been in contact with should also be isolated and strictly monitored.
Strict hygiene is essential as direct contact with infected horses
is the simplest means of transmitting the disease. Grooming kits, buckets, water troughs and tack should be cleaned thoroughly
and disinfected daily. These items should not be shared with other animals.
Handlers and carers of infected animals should also change clothes,
footwear and ideally shower before handling any uninfected animals to help reduce the risk of spreading the disease. Guidelines
and advice on Strangles are available from The British Horse Society Welfare Department on 08701 299992 or by emailing: email@example.com.