NFED Equine Health & Welfare


Strangles is highly contagious and can have very serious consequences for horses and ponies, signs include raised temperature, nasal discharge, cough and enlarged glands on the head and throat area which may abscess, these abscesses discharge highly infectious pus, the animal usually looks very depressed. With “bastard” strangles abscesses can form internally in the major body organs, in some cases it can be fatal, however it is not always realised how easily it can be caught and spread to other equines and areas.

Strangles can be carried by humans on boots and clothing, therefore it is essential that clothing and foot wear is changed before going near other equines or taking a trip to feed merchants or saddlers etc. You should also inform your vet, farrier or anyone that may be travelling from your yard to another. The disease can also be transferred on tack, buckets and grooming kits and through the use of shared water troughs, infected horses will frequently leave discharge in the water after drinking, bacteria can survive on wood for 63 days, even longer in water. Strong disinfectant should be used on yards, equipment and foot wear.

Do not move animals that are, or maybe infected near to other equines.

Riding in areas where there are infected animals will also heighten the risk of your horse or pony contracting Strangles.
If you suspect that your horse has this disease, you should isolate it immediately, once Strangles has been diagnosed all other horses that have been in contact will be at risk, your yard may need to be quarantined for several weeks.

You should inform owners of horses and yards in the near vicinity so that they can monitor their animals closely and follow procedures to stop the spread of the disease. Strangles can be economically disastrous to Riding stables and studs and incur expensive veterinary bills for owners.

With good management and common sense much can be done to lessen the risk of spreading this highly infectious disease.

Shirley Young
Farriers New Forest Ponies
Connecting the central southern equestrian community.