Equine Strangles in the Antelope Valley 2007
In November 2007, Veterinary Public Health received a report that there were outbreaks of the disease Strangles in horses in the Antelope Valley. Multiple cases, including one death, were found in horses in the area. Additional reports were suggestive of more local infections, and that the bacteria circulates regularly in local stables. A misperception exists that Strangles causes only mild disease and that it cannot be prevented. This misperception may be contributing to continued circulation of the disease.
Veterinary Public Health visited several stables in the Antelope Valley region to conduct outreach and education about Strangles prevention and control.
Strangles is a contagious bacterial infection called Streptococcus equi that can cause nasal infections, abscessed lymph nodes, and occasionally more severe internal illness and death in horses. In very rare cases, humans may also contract this bacteria. Horses can spread the bacteria easily by direct nose-to-nose contact. The bacteria is also spread by infected horses sharing water or food troughs and other equipment with other horses. Flies landing on the nose or open abscess of an infected horse may spread infection when they land on other horses.
Outbreaks and infections can be controlled and avoided by vaccination, increasing levels of sanitation, and quarantining all newly arrived horses (even ones that look healthy). All horse owners, stable owners, and horse caretakers and trainers are asked to read and share the pamphlet about control of Strangles found in the link below.