What is Strangles?

Strangles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi.

At what age are horses at risk?

Strangles commonly affects foals and younger horses, but horses of any age can be infected. Most horses recover, but they may need to be isolated and kept out of work for long periods of time. Once infected, horses can shed the bacteria for many months, potentially infecting other horses.

How is strangles transmitted?

Strangles can be transmitted through direct contact with infected horses or indirectly through water troughs, equipment or people. 

Some signs to look out for:

  • Fever (39-40°C)
  • Nasal discharge
  • Dysphagia (difficulty in swallowing)
  • Lack of appetite, depression
  • Stridor (respiratory noise)
  • Enlarged lymph glands under the jaw

Some foals go on to develop pneumonia, guttural pouch infection or “bastard strangles” which may prove fatal. 

Vet giving tetanus vaccine shot