A Cautionary Tale from Florida: Horse Contracts Strangles

Here's something to get you by the reins: a recent case of strangles in a Florida horse has sparked concern among horse owners and equine professionals alike. For those who might not know, strangles is a highly contagious bacterial infection specifically caused by Streptococcus equi subspecies equi, according to information provided by the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC).

Unraveling the Mystery of Strangles

If you are picturing the disease with a somewhat macabre curiosity, rest assured, it's not as violent as it sounds! The term strangles references the typical symptom of swollen lymph nodes around the neck, possibly causing difficulty in swallowing. It is pretty much like how we feel when we have a severe throat infection, but for horses. Other symptoms include fever, nasal discharge, coughing, and muscle swelling.

The Tale of the Quarantined Horse

Back to our patient zero - the unfortunate Floridan horse diagnosed with strangles is now under a strict quarantine, hoof and all. Two other horses in close proximity have also been exposed to the infection, adding further layers of complexity to the situation.

Vaccination and Other Preventive Measures

No doubt, such an incident serves as a stern reminder of the importance of maintaining good equine health. Vaccination is one of the primary preventive measures against strangles, though it's not an ironclad protection, as you might giddyup to believe. The vaccine isn't always effective, and horses can remain infectious for six weeks post-recovery. However, don't let this leave you long-faced; every little precaution, like quarantining affected horses and maintaining good stable hygiene, can significantly help prevent the spread of the disease.

A Ray of Hope: Recovery and Antibiotic Treatment

Before you get on your high horse, strangles is not typically a death sentence for equines. Most horses can recover fully from strangles within three to four weeks. Strangles can saddle horse owners with the dilemma of whether to use antibiotics for treatment, as they can hinder the development of immunity in infected horses. But, in more severe cases, they may be the best courses of treatment available.

Looking Beyond The Horizon: Future Research

Such instances inevitably stirrup interest in further research about this disease. A more detailed understanding of the frequency of strangles cases in Florida and across the US, the effectiveness of available vaccines, potential breakthroughs in treatments, and the long-term impact of strangles on a horse's health and performance can help shape future best practices in equine care and management.

In the meantime, remember to saddle up, stay informed, keep an eye out for signs of discomfort in your horses, and leave no stone unturned when it's their health at stake.

Source: EDCC