When it comes to ensuring the health and welfare of our precious equine friends, prevention is always better than cure. This year, we've been starkly reminded of the need for awareness and precautionary measures in horse health management as a disquieting case of Strangles reared its head in Michigan. Two horses on the same premises in Newaygo County tested positive for this contagious equine disease, spreading concern among horse owners, breeders, and professionals alike.

What Is Strangles and Why Is It a Concern?

Strangles, scientifically known as Streptococcus equi subspecies equi, is a bacterial infection that primarily impacts horses. Despite its guaranteed entry into the hall of gross-sounding names, Strangles can be deadly serious. The infection strikes the lymph nodes, causing swelling and discomfort. Afflicted horses may exhibit visible symptoms like fever, nasal discharge, and swollen or abscessed lymph nodes. Some may even develop a cough or start to wheeze.

If you're thinking this sounds somewhat unpleasant, you'd be spot on. But the real kicker? Some horses may show no symptoms at all, yet still carry and spread the infection. It's like a dubious lottery, with equine health on the line.

The Recent Cases in Michigan

In the recent Michigan incidents, the infected horses were an 18-year-old Quarter Horse gelding and another from the same premises earlier in the year. Sadly, the gelding did not survive and was euthanized. The severity and tragic outcome of these cases serve as an important wake-up call about the potential threat Strangles presents to our four-legged companions.

Preventing the Spread of Strangles

Considering the contagiousness of Strangles and the fact that non-symptomatic horses could potentially spread the disease, it's very much a scenario of 'forewarned is forearmed.' Regular hygiene practices, like washing hands and equipment, and prompt isolation of infected horses can help prevent transmission. Remember, prevention isn't just for the health of your horse, it's for the health of all horses.

The Future Fight against Strangles

While prevention and vigilance are valuable tools in the fight against the disease, developing effective vaccines continues to be crucial in securing a Strangles-free future for our equine populations. Current research into vaccine effectiveness, along with the continual development of new treatments and prevention techniques, hold the key to eradicating this insidious disease.

The Impact on the Equine Industry

Sad though it is, the effects of Strangles are not limited to individual horses. The disease has economic implications for horse breeders, owners, and even the broader equine industry. A Strangles outbreak can disrupt horse trading, events, and industry operations. So, it is the collective responsibility of the equine community to manage and prevent the spread of Strangles.

In conclusion, while Strangles, like a badly behaved racehorse, can be difficult to control, we're not without defenses. Educating ourselves, spreading awareness, and committing to prevention and new treatment developments are the best ways to protect our beloved equine companions. And remember, horse health is not just about keeping Strangles at bay. It's about supporting the wellbeing of our cherished industry and the splendid creatures that are the central figures. So, giddy up and let's defeat Strangles together!


The content and information mentioned in the above article are referenced from two sources which are based on the Strangles cases in Michigan. However, the original source URL of the articles are not provided.