Unraveling the Threat of Strangles: A Case from Ontario's Equine World

A concerning case of Strangles, an infectious disease in horses, has swept through the equine community in Ontario, Canada. The case involved a 7-year-old gelding resident at a boarding facility in the City of Kawartha Lakes. Recognising the severity of the risks, horse owners and industry representatives are looking at ways to manage strangles and devise effective prevention protocols.

Understanding Strangles: A spotlight on the Ontario Gelding's Case

Strangles, caused by Streptococcus equi subspecies equi, is a contagious infection primarily affecting the lymph nodes located in a horse's head and neck. On March 25th, a case was confirmed that a gelding had contracted the infection. The horse started showing symptoms including a submandibular lymph node abscess on March 21st. To contain the spreading of the infection, the horse was immediately quarantined. Unfortunately, five other horses at the facility were exposed, elevating the situation's severity.

Decoding the Symptoms: What Does Strangles Look Like?

The symptoms of strangles feature fever, swollen or abscessed lymph nodes, nasal discharge, followed by coughing/wheezing, muscle swelling, and difficulty swallowing. In extreme cases, Strangles can lead to complications like pneumonia or arthritis, making it a cause of significant concern for horse owners

Strangles Across Regions: Studying the Prevalence and Effects

The equine industry has reported different strangles cases across regions, underlining the critical need for more research and understanding of the disease's prevalence and influence. Concluding regional studies on Strangles can offer a wealth of insights into the disease's rapid spread, the severity of the instances, and potential risk factors involved.

Strangles Management Practices: Integrating Vaccines and Biosecurity Measures

Research on strangles also turns our attention to understand the efficacy of vaccine programs and management practices in horse breeding, and their role in the broader scheme of managing strangles cases. Integrating effective vaccination programs complemented by strong biosecurity measures can help curb the spread of Strangles, thereby reducing its impact on the equine industry.

The Role of Biosecurity in Preventing Equine Diseases

Implementing robust biosecurity measures manifests as a strong defense mechanism in preventing the transmission of equine diseases, including Strangles. Practices such as quarantining new arrivals, ensuring cleanliness of facilities, and promoting good hygiene, can drastically shutter down the risks of disease transmission.

Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC)

The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) acts as a crucial reservoir of information and resource for managing equine diseases, including Strangles. It serves to deliver timely, accurate information to the equine community, aiding its members in minimizing their impact, and in adopting measures to prevent disease spread.

In light of the recent Strangles case in Ontario, understanding the disease, its impact, and prevention measures have hitched heightened importance. Advancing our understanding of strangles and its prevalence, recognizing vaccination efficiency in different scenarios and implementing sound biosecurity measures can help control the strangles spread, thereby supporting the equine industry at large.

Enduring such crises remind us of the critical role institutions like the EDCC play, acting as warning systems, and information disseminators, in preventing the spread of strangles and other equine diseases.


The information in this article was referenced from two articles: Ontario Gelding Positive for strangles, and A Case of Strangles in an Ontario Horse: Understanding the Implications and Prevention Measures.