Clallam County, Washington, reports strangles case July 29, 2022: Specifically, the Washington State Veterinarian’s Office confirmed a horse tested positive for strangles at a private facility. Additionally, the owners reported they recently purchased some horses from an auction. The confirmed positive horse was already on the property. They’re working with a private veterinarian and have voluntarily quarantined the facility.
The Equine Disease Communication Center released this information July 29, 2022. To read the alert and others, click here.
EDCC Health Watch is an Equine Network marketing program. It utilizes information from the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) to create and disseminate verified equine disease reports. The EDCC is an independent nonprofit organization. It is supported by industry donations in order to provide open access to infectious disease information.
Strangles in horses is an infection caused by Streptococcus equi subspecies equi. It spreads through direct contact with other equids or contaminated surfaces. Horses that aren’t showing clinical signs can harbor and spread the bacteria. Recovered horses remain contagious for at least six weeks, with the potential to cause outbreaks long-term.
Infected horses can exhibit a variety of clinical signs:
- Swollen and/or abscessed lymph nodes
- Nasal discharge
- Coughing or wheezing
- Muscle swelling
- Difficulty swallowing
Veterinarians diagnose horses using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing with either a nasal swab, wash, or an abscess sample. They treat most cases based on clinical signs, implementing antibiotics for severe cases. Overuse of antibiotics can prevent an infected horse from developing immunity. Most horses make a full recovery in three to four weeks.
A vaccine is available but not always effective. Biosecurity measures of quarantining new horses at a facility and maintaining high standards of hygiene and disinfecting surfaces can help lower the risk of outbreak or contain one when it occurs.