Strangles in Quebec: A Closer Look at the Infectious Equine Disease

In April 2024, a horse in Centre-du-Quebec, Quebec, tested positive for Strangles - a contagious bacterial infection that affects horses. According to reports, a suspect case is also in the picture. Strangles, scientifically known as Streptococcus equi subspecies equi, spreads through direct contact with infected horses or infected surfaces, nasal discharge, saliva, and contaminated water or food. Even seemingly healthy horses can harbour and spread the bacteria, underlining the need for an all-round, vigilant approach to horse health.

Recognizing Strangles: The Symptoms

Identifying Strangles promptly is the key to controlling its spread. Typical symptoms include fever, swollen and abscessed lymph nodes, nasal discharge, coughing, muscle swelling, and difficulty swallowing. A point worth noting is the variability of these symptoms- they could range from mild to severe. Furthermore, some horses, known as carriers, might not show any symptoms at all. Veterinarians usually base their diagnosis of Strangles on these clinical signs, backed by laboratory tests and-analysis of the horse's health history.

What Happens in Extreme Cases?

In worst-case scenarios, Strangles can lead to complications such as pneumonia, laminitis, or colitis. Clearly, the stakes are high - for the horse's health and for the potential financial implications. Costs can mount due to prolonged quarantines, higher veterinary bills, and the potential loss of valuable horses from the show or racing circuit. And let's not forget the emotional impact such an event can bring on the horse owner.

Prevention is Better: The Role of Biosecurity Measures

This is where biosecurity measures dive into action. The rampant contagiousness of Strangles calls for strict adherence to preventive measures, which can be as simple as regular health check-ups and isolation of new or suspect cases. Recovering horses can still spread the disease, making it crucial to continue these measures even post-recovery, ideally for at least six weeks. Essentially, containment is half the battle won. The rest depends on constant vigilance and adherence to the bio-security protocol.

Information is Power: The EDCC's Role

The Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) functions as a lighthouse amidst the storm, providing updates on disease outbreaks, preventive measures, and available treatment options. By staying informed, horse owners have a fighting chance against equine diseases such as Strangles.

Driving Towards a Strangles-Free Future

As we march forwards in our understanding and management of Strangles, new avenues for research unfold. The examination of current Strangles vaccines' effectiveness and a more detailed exploration of the EDCC's work are potential gold mines for insights. Researchers could also shine their spotlight on studying the disease spread, symptoms, and treatment techniques. Each finding would bring us one step closer to comprehending the nature of Strangles better, thereby enhancing our ability to treat and prevent it.

In conclusion, the recent Strangles outbreak in Quebec underscores the profound importance of maintaining stringent biosecurity measures and staying informed. With further research and a steadfast commitment to best practices, there is hope yet for a strangles-free world where horses and their owners can breathe easy.


  • Article "Quebec Horse Positive for Strangles"
  • Article "A Recent Outbreak of Strangles in Quebec: Understanding the Implications and Preventive Measures"
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