Skip to content
  • Print

Risk of Strangles

Strangles is a highly contagious disease and is rapidly spread from horse to horse.1, 3 Strangles is spread via the pus or discharge from infected horses’ noses, draining lymph nodes, or by coughing.2

Direct contamination 

  • Direct contact among horses2
  • Nose-to-nose contact with neighbouring horses or contamination via flies2

Once infected, horses can shed the bacteria for weeks or months (and occasionally years), even after recovery, potentially infecting other horses.2

Indirect contamination

  • Contaminated grooming equipment, shared tack or rugs2
  • Contamination via human contact or contaminated clothing3
  • Sharing of feed or water contaminated by nasal discharge or pus from an infected horse2

The strangles bacterium can survive in the environment for weeks or possibly months, causing an ongoing risk.3  

Strangles is a notifiable disease in some States – if your horse is affected, check with your vet to see if you need to report strangles to your local authorities.




  1. Strategy to Eradicate and Prevent Strangles (STEPS). The British Horse Society, Scotland, 2011.
  2. Queensland Horse Council Inc. Strangles Fact Sheet, May 2010.
  3. Biosecurity NSW. PrimeFact 648, Third Edition, May 2012. NSW Department of Industry and Investment.