Strangles on the Farm: What Do You Do?

Strangles is highly contagious and can spread rapidly through horse populations and barns, so quick containment is essential. One veterinarian offers his tips on how to stop strangles from spreading.

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Strangles on the Farm: What Do You Do?
If diagnostics do confirm a strangles case, Rendle said property managers should isolate all horses with fever or other clinical signs immediately. | Photo:

A new horse arrives at the 20-stall boarding facility where your horse resides. He gets turned out in a field with three other horses, and all seems well. But after about a week, he starts to develop an abscess beneath his jaw, and a couple of the horses he’s pastured with are coughing.

Does the horse have strangles? Is the rest of the barn at risk?

This is a panic-inducing scenario many veterinarians might encounter on clients’ properties. So David Rendle, BVCs, MVM, CertEM(IntMed), Dipl. ECEIM, MRCVS, of Rainbow Equine Hospital, in North Yorkshire, U.K., described how to handle it while at the 2018 British Equine Veterinary Association Congress, held Sept. 12-15, in Birmingham

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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