How does a horse become a strangles carrier?

Strangles carriers appear to be perfectly healthy, but are carrying hidden bacteria in part of their respiratory system.

They may shed some of those bacteria at any time, with potential to infect other horses and trigger strangles outbreaks without anyone knowing where the disease has come from.

But the good news is that we can not only find and treat strangles carriers, we can prevent horses from becoming carriers in the first place. By asking a vet to check horses who are recovering from the infection, we can find and treat those who need a helping hand to completely clear the disease.

Without treatment, around one in every 10 horses who are infected with strangles will become a carrier. This is an average, however, and in some outbreaks the number may be higher.

In Redwings' own outbreak  in 2015, our vets treated eight out of 30 infected horses who were otherwise likely to have become long-term carriers, putting all our rescued residents at risk of the disease.

We hope that our simple, light-hearted animation will help people understand why we should all care about carriers if we want to protect horses from the misery of strangles.

If you own or care for a horse, you can show that you would be willing to stop your horse becoming a carrier by taking the Stamp Out Strangles pledge. Central to our award-winning Stamp Out Strangles campaign, pledging is free, easy and we’ll send you our Strangles Speak Out: Information Pack, endorsed by the British Equine Veterinary Association, with practical tips and guidance on preventing or managing strangles.

For a wealth of free information, animations, downloads and shareable resources to help you protect horses from infectious disease, don’t forget to explore our Strangles Hub.