Strangles is a bacterial infection due to Streptococcus equi ssp equi, it causes respiratory tract inflammation, purulent nasal discharge and regional lymph nodes inflammation often leading to abcess formation.
Strangles is very contagious and even if the horse has no apparent symptoms, he can carry the bacteria and spread the infection. This means that, in the absence of adequate preventive methods and a vaccination strategy, an infection can lead to large outbreaks of strangles.
First, good stable management aimed at limiting horse stress and concentration will help maintain conditions that are unfavorable to the circulation of the bacteria. In order to prevent the introduction of the bacteria in a horse population, it’s important to isolate newcomers for 1 to 2 weeks. Unfortunately the existence of healthy carriers does not allow, despite a quarantine, totally prevent the appearance of an epidemic.
Vaccination can therefore be useful; it allows a clear decrease in the incidence of strangles and the severity of associated symptoms. This is only indicated in healthy horses (i.e. those with no symptoms of strangles or other diseases).
In case of epidemic, infected horses must be separated from clinically healthy horses. The bacterium can also be transmitted by indirect contact via people or equipment, during an epidemic, very strict management must be in place so that no indirect contact can take place between infected horses and healthy horses. The equipment used for infected horses must be reserved for them and must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected (or even discarded) at the end of the epidemic before being reused.