Equine Strangles

Equine Strangles is a bacterial infection of the upper respiratory system.

It is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus equi in the throat area and lymph nodes behind and under the jaw.


First 3 – 7 days signs of infection include

• Depression• Loss of appetite• Temperature above 39°C• Swelling of the lymph nodes under the jaw. • Pain under the jaw

After 7 – 10 days

• lymph nodes may burst open and release yellow, smelly pus.

• Spread of the infection through nasal discharge.

Strangles itself can kill (in simple cases there is a one percent mortality rate)

Infected horses should be isolated.

Feed and water buckets, blankets and anything else they come in contact with should also be isolated.


• Antibiotics for first 4 – 7 day period.

• Vaccination is available. It does not guarantee protection against the virus but usually limits the duration and severity of the disease.

Vaccination of non-infected horses may be worthwhile to restrict the spread.

Horses recovering horses can be carriers and still harbour Strep. equi without any symptoms. Consequently, new or recurrent outbreaks are likely. Aggressive quarantine measures should be used.

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