Bransby Horses warn of equine strangles outbreak

Bransby Horses warn of strangles outbreak image of veterinarian scoping a horse with students

Bransby Horses have warned horse owners in the East Midlands following a strangles outbreak.

Horse owners, riders and yard managers are being urged to review their biosecurity measures and to keep a careful watch on the health of equines in their care. Extra vigilance surrounding horses leaving and returning for competition and vet purposes, alongside correct isolation of new horses is strongly recommended.

Bransby Horses veterinary advisor Jeremy Kemp-Symonds recently co-authored a research paper which defines the rate Streptococcus equi – the bacterium that causes Strangles – spreads.  

He said:


We have defined the R0 number – that’s a measure of the rate at which the infection spreads – for the first time at just over two. That means that, on average, every horse that is infected with Strangles will infect another two, if no preventative action is taken.  

Although this may seem quite high, we now know that, with the right interventions, it is possible to break the cycle of infection using some simple measures such as strict quarantining of known and suspected cases, good biosecurity and regular temperature checks of equines, to help assess those that may be infected.” 

And he added:

Bransby Horses is challenged by welfare cases arriving with Strangles on a regular basis, but because of our stringent biosecurity and isolation measures in our quarantine unit for new arrivals, we haven’t had a single outbreak for over 15 years.” 

Bransby Horses warn of strangles outbreak image of veterinarian scoping a horse with students
Jeremy Kemp Symonds scoping a horse with Strangles.

Anyone concerned about their horse’s health should seek advice from their vet. 

About equine strangles

Strangles is a highly infectious respiratory disease affecting horses, which can be fatal in severe cases. It spreads through direct horse-to-horse contact and also indirectly through contaminated equipment, such as a handler’s clothing, buckets or boots. Both feed and especially water sources can also be significant in the disease’s spread. 

There are a number of simple measures yard owners can put in place to help stop the spread of equine strangles. These include implementing and maintaining effective biosecurity measures when a new horse moves to the yard. An area of the yard, and turnout paddock, situated away from other equines and livestock, should be used for new horses, while the same area can also be used for suspected cases.

Owners can also track the occurrence of Strangles, together with common clinical signs and other data, on the Surveillance of Equine Strangles website: SES View. This year Bransby Horses is both supporting and giving technical veterinary advice to the Strangles Awareness Week campaign, which runs from May.

To find out more about taking a horse’s temperature and Strangles in general visit the Bransby Horses, Strangles page.

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