As of 1st March 2012 we do not have any diagnosed cases and we are also unaware of any recently confirmed case reports by the other local practices. There are several straight forward biosecurity measures that you can do to reduce the risk of your horse encountering strangles such as not sharing buckets or troughs, not touching strange or obviously sick animals and isolating new arrivals for 2 to 3 weeks.
However one of the aspects of strangles that makes control difficult is the carrier state. This is apparently normal horses which carry active infection within their guttural pouches (air spaces within the neck). These carrier horses can really only be satisfactorily identified following examination of their guttural pouches by endoscope. Blood sampling can identify horses that have been previously exposed and may have become carriers. A sensible biosecurity precaution to prevent introduction of strangles onto a yard would be a blood test followed, if positive, by endoscopy to check for the carrier state. This may seem time consuming not to mention expensive, but if successful in preventing a new outbreak could easily make sense in welfare and economic terms.
The British Horse Society STEPS guide sets out in easy to read terms all about equine strangles.
Jamie Gartside will speak on Strangles on WEDNESDAY 14th MARCH 2012 at the CRIEFF HOTEL, HIGH STREET, CRIEFF at 7.30pm
Contact BHS Scotland for details