I am posting this blog to educate people about the disease to help better understand it. I hope u find this helpful.

Thank you

Hazel Miller BHSAI

Strangles - The Diagnosis

Strangles is an infection with the bacterium 'Streptococcus Equi'.

It's extremely contagious and is spread by direct contact with the pus and nasal discharges that occur so readily with this disease.

Contaminated tack, feeding utensils, water troughs and bedding are all potent sources of infection.
The organism gains entry to the body at the back of the throat and rapidly settles in the tonsils and adjacent lymph nodes.

From here it spreads to the lymph glands of the head and neck, and causes the swelling and abscess formation so typical of the disease.

Rarely does it spread any further.

Most horses recover with no complications, and up to 70% develop a life-long immunity.

It is thought that the remainder form a carrier population able to perpetuate the disease.

Strangles - What is it and what are the signs?

Primarily a disease of the upper respiratory tract. It has a worldwide distribution, and is a disease of considerable antiquity, since discriptions exist from the 1300's and earlier.

The facts:

* Has an incubation period of between 3 - 10 days

* The first signs are increasing depression, high temperature (in excess of 39 degrees celcious), and the development of a slight cough.

* A discoloured nasal discharge then appears and the glands behind the ears and in the angle of the jaw and between the arms of the lower jaw become swollen and tender.

* The horse often stands with the head outstreched and rigid.

* The horse becomes unwilling to eat, due to an inability to swallow due to the pain of swollen glands.

* Pressure on the larynx and pharynx from the rapid swelling of lymph glands will cause a degree of respiratory noise (wheezing/roaring).

* In extreme cases respiratory distress may necessitate a tracheotomy to allow the horse to breath.

* One or more glands continue to swell and in a few days burst, releasing quantities of pus. (The glands between the arms of the lower jaw are most often involved.).

*Once the strangles abscesses have matured and burst, most cases rapidly improve.

*In very young or old horse, complications can occur and th disease can spread from the upper respiratory tract and cause abscess formation in the lungs and brain or in the lymph nodes of the abdomen.

* This complication is called Bastard Strangles, and carries a poor prognosis.

Strangles - Prevention is better than cure.

Prevention is possible, and should be attempted, in spite of the contagious nature of the disease.

Prevent the disease spreading by:

* In a closed herd situation, new arrivals should be isolated for 2 weeks.

* Affected horses should also be put into isolation with separate food and containers,grooming kit and where possible, handler.

* Everything that has been in contact with the affected horses should be washed and cleaned, especially hands and boots!

* All contaminated bedding and clothing should be burnt and buildings should be thoroughly cleaned and steam-sterilised.

Help to cure your horse by:

* Careful nursing: the swelling abscesses should be encouraged to mature and burst by constant application of heat, either by bathing with hot water or using one of the heat pads that are commercially available.

* Steam inhalation, with or without Vick, to help breathing.

* Food should be soft and palatable.

*Antibiotic treatment is not indicated in the uncomplicated case. There is now evidence that its use in fact serves to prolong the devolpment and maturation of the abscesses, a situation that might increase the chance of bastard strangles developing.

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