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Home:Equine Diseases: Equine Strangles Diseases

Equine Diseases

Equine Diseases - Strangles

Description of Equine Disease Strangles


Strangles is a highly contagious disease that affects the horse's lymph nodes in the upper respiratory tract. It is an equine disease which most owners would heartily wish to avoid due to its reputation but with proper care your horse will make a good recovery.


Causes of Equine Strangles:

Strangles is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi, affecting horses right across the spectrum. 

Symptoms of Equine Strangles:

Signs to look for are loss of appetite, cough and nasal discharge and the characteristic swollen lymph nodes under the jaw or around the neck area.  Strangles will produce abscesses in the neck area the characteristic of which is a virulent thick yellow pus.

The swelling of lymph gland in strangles can cause breathing problems due to restriction of the airways, hence the name “strangles”.    

Strangles is highly contagious and spreads easily between horses, handlers, farriers and vets, so prevention can be difficult.

If you suspect strangles, isolate your horse and calI your vet. All cases of strangles are different and merit different treatments ranging from good stable management and hygiene to antibiotics, warm packs to help draw out abscess, washing of the abscess cavity with antiseptic solution and surgical opening.
There is another condition called “bastard strangles”.  This occurs in different areas of the body.  This strangles strain has does not respond well to treatment and unfortunately is usually fatal.