In February 2007, the Animal Health Trust (AHT) and British Horse Society (BHS)
launched a nationwide Strangles Campaign. There were two aims; the first was to raise awareness of the disease,
and the second was to gain support for the research programme.
The target was to raise £250,000 to fund research into the next stages
of the development of improved means of diagnosis and prevention – ultimately to eradicate this terrible disease.
The campaign was launched by the President of the AHT, HRH The Princess Royal,
at the Royal Society of Medicine in London.
The ‘Breaking the Strangles Hold’ campaign reached its fundraising
target of £250,000 in just two years, demonstrating how important, to horse owners, getting to grips with this terrible disease
By 2008, money donated from the general public, along with funding from The
Horse Trust, allowed scientists at the AHT to develop a diagnostic blood test to screen for exposure to the infection. Since
then more than 6,700 samples have been tested and many new outbreaks averted.
The success of this diagnostic work has attracted further funding from the
Wellcome Trust in the form of a Translation Award, the first of its kind to be awarded to a veterinary project. The award
of more than £580,000, will enable our scientists to develop another diagnostic test that detects minute quantities of DNA
specific to the strangles bug. Their goal is to reduce the time taken to diagnose the disease and ultimately produce a point-of-care
test that vets can use on site to get a diagnosis in 30 minutes. Earlier diagnosis will allow owners to isolate horses sooner
and minimise the spread of infection.
For more information about Strangles and the campaign visit www.strangles.org