Redwings contributes to the latest thinking on strangles

An important new report shares insights from a panel of strangles experts who met in January 2021 to discuss current best practice on diagnosis and management of the disease.

The virtual roundtable event brought together a group of vets and researchers with specialist knowledge and interest in strangles, including Redwings’ Senior Vet and Head of Welfare and Behaviour, Nic de Brauwere.

The group discussed the latest research, shared their approaches and experience of strangles diagnosis and treatment, along with strategies for outbreak management. Their conclusions are brought together as a comprehensive veterinary guide to the latest thinking around the infection.

The many key points reflecting current thinking include:

  • Infected horses presenting with mild signs of disease (fever, nasal discharge and swollen lymph nodes) are more common than individuals with more advanced, well-recognised symptoms such as abscessed lymph nodes or difficulties with breathing or swallowing, meaning strangles should be included more commonly when testing for non-specific signs of respiratory disease.
  • Strangles strains circulating in Europe have changed in recent years, with evidence of an adaption in horses’ immune response.
  • Antibiotics should be avoided in active strangles cases unless a horse is experiencing breathing or swallowing difficulties, or has persistent fever.
  • It is recommended that horses infected during an outbreak are screened using guttural pouch lavage around four weeks after the resolution of clinical signs in all individuals to prevent the development of strangles carriers.
  • Planning and communication are an essential element of outbreak management, requiring clear points of contact and consistent messaging for everyone on the affected premises.

Thanks to determined efforts to continue researching strangles, our understanding of the Streptococcus equi bacteria that causes the disease is constantly evolving. As one of the sponsors of the roundtable discussion and subsequent report, Redwings is committed to sharing the latest information that can help contain and resolve strangles outbreaks and protect horses from a uniquely challenging infection.

You can read the full report by clicking here.