Vets and horse owners urged to work together to combat strangles - Veterinary Practice
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Vets and horse owners urged to work together to combat strangles

Dechra survey reveals less that half of vets believe yards and premises operated good biosecurity measures prior to a strangles outbreak

 

A recent survey of 50 vets carried out by Dechra during Strangles Awareness Week (1 to 7 May 2023) has revealed that while many vets are diagnosing strangles cases, only half of them are recommending vaccination to their clients.

With an estimated 300 outbreaks each year in the UK alone, vets believe that horse owners could also be doing more to combat the disease. 

Less than half of vets questioned believed that yards and premises operated good biosecurity measures prior to a strangles outbreak, yet 85 percent brought in more stringent biosecurity after an outbreak, when it was too late.

A high temperature is an early warning sign that a horse may have strangles and regular temperature checking is an important tool in preventing the disease.

Reassuringly, 11 percent of strangles cases were diagnosed following a temperature check, which is increasingly becoming part of horse owners’ regular routine.

Vets and horse owners can work together to combat strangles by following these steps:

  • Vets should recommend vaccination to all horse owners: Vaccination with Strangvac can protect up to 94 percent of horses and reduces clinical signs of the disease including a high temperature, coughing, inappetence, difficulty swallowing and changes in demeanour, while also reducing the number of lymph node abscesses
  • Horse owners should practice good biosecurity and quarantine measures: This includes keeping horses isolated from other horses, washing hands after handling horses and cleaning and disinfecting equipment
  • Horse owners should monitor their horses’ temperatures regularly: A high temperature is an early warning sign of strangles

Sara Barker, BVSc, CertAVP(EM), MRCVS, equine field support manager at Dechra, says: “Strangles is one of the most common equine infectious diseases both in the UK and worldwide and a multi-factor approach is key to tackling the disease.

“Strangles vaccination is recommended, alongside good biosecurity, quarantine measures and regular temperature checking.

“By working together, vets and horse owners can help to keep horses healthy and prevent the spread of strangles.”

For further information on Strangvac visit the Dechra website.

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