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Equine Practice
Strangles in the horse: management and complications
  1. Tim Brazil

    Tim Brazil graduated from Liverpool in 1988 and has spent time in both academia and private equine practice. He currently runs an ambulatory equine medicine referral service based in the Cotswolds. He holds a PhD for studies on lung inflammation in the horse, and the RCVS certificate and the European diploma in equine internal medicine.


‘STRANGLES’ – or Streptococcus equi infection – has probably been endemic in much of the world's equid population since antiquity. Most veterinary surgeons dealing with any number of horses will recognise individual cases or herd outbreaks on a regular basis. In spite of a great improvement in the knowledge of strangles epizootiology and the techniques for the identification and treatment of its complications, disease control on a national basis remains less than ideal. The main problem is to ensure identification and effective bacteriological cure of subclinical chronic carriers of the bacteria, which form an important reservoir of infection for this condition. As well as acute clinical disease, significant sequelae can become apparent days, weeks or even months after the initial acute signs have resolved. This article reviews the clinical aspects of strangles and its sequelae, provides guidelines for managing and resolving individual cases and outbreaks, and highlights some strategies for disease prevention.

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