Washington, Wisconsin Confirm Strangles

Washington and Wisconsin confirm two strangles cases. The cases were reported in King County, Washington, and Green County, Wisconsin.
Washington and Wisconsin confirmed strangle cases. The cases are located in (left) King County (WA) and (right) Green County, (WI), identified in red in the maps of the state.

Washington and Wisconsin confirmed strangles cases in early August. They occurred in King County, Washington, and Green County, Wisconsin.

On Aug. 2, the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade, and Consumer Protection reported a case in Green County. An 18-year-old Miniature Horse gelding tested positive for strangles at a private facility. Additionally, the horse presented with fever, submandibular lymph node abscessation and facial swelling. As a result, the facility is under voluntary quarantine.

On Aug. 4, the Washington State Veterinarian’s Office reported one horse positive and three suspected for strangles. The horses are at a boarding facility in King County. Consequently, the state vet’s office, along with a private veterinarian, are working on biosecurity measures and possibly meeting with boarders.

To read the Equine Disease Communication Center alert about this case 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.

About Strangles

Strangles in horses is an infection caused by Streptococcus equi subspecies equi. It spreads through direct contact with other equids or contaminated surfaces. Most importantly, 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:

  • Fever
  • Swollen and/or abscessed lymph nodes
  • Nasal discharge
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Muscle swelling
  • Difficulty swallowing

Veterinarians diagnose horses using polymerase chain reaction testing with either a nasal swab, wash, or an abscess sample. They treat most cases based on clinical signs, implementing antibiotics for severe cases. But overuse of antibiotics can prevent an infected horse from developing immunity. Most horses make a full recovery in three to four weeks.

vaccine is available but not always effective. Biosecurity measures include quarantining new horses at a facility and maintaining high standards of hygiene. Consequently, these, as well as disinfecting surfaces, can help lower the risk of outbreak or contain one when it occurs.

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