Outbreak of strangles

AN outbreak of strangles has been reported at a West Sussex stables where only one horse has been infected. The affected horse has been in isolation for three weeks and hopes are high that the outbreak may have been contained.

The outbreak within the county follows reportings of cases from as far afield as Guernsey and Scotland.

Strangles is a serious equine infection, sometimes fatal, caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi, whose symptoms include severe inflammation of the mucous membrane with extensive swelling and often rupture of the lymph nodes, which produces a nasal discharge.

While the disease affects horses of all ages, it is most common in animals under five years, especially in groups of weaning foals or yearlings.

It is most often transmitted through direct contact with a diseased horse but it can also be passed by contaminated stable equipment, fences and water troughs or on grass.

It can be fatal when sites other than the lymph nodes are infected, such as the lungs, brain or abdomen.

On the advice of vets and after discussions with riding clubs holding competitions in the area, riders with horses at the affected yard in West Sussex were asked to pull out of competitions held last weekend.

The situation is being monitored and it is hoped vets may be able to give the all-clear for those involved to resume competitions soon.

For full story and other equestrian news, see Sussex Horse World, West Sussex Gazette June 15