Two horses in Kansas have been confirmed positive for strangles. The horses reside in Miami and Johnson counties.
In Miami County, a 5-year-old Quarter Horse gelding was confirmed positive on July 28 after developing nasal discharge and a submandibular abscess. Nine additional horses at the private facility are exposed. The affected horses are under voluntary quarantine.
In Johnson County, a 3-year-old Quarter Horse mare was confirmed positive on August 2 after developing clinical signs on July 28, including nasal discharge and fever. She recently returned from training at a racetrack in Oklahoma. Ten additional horses at the facility are exposed, and the affected horses are under voluntary quarantine.
EDCC Health Watch is an Equine Network marketing program that utilizes information from the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) to create and disseminate verified equine disease reports. The EDCC is an independent nonprofit organization that is supported by industry donations in order to provide open access to infectious disease information.
Strangles in horses is an infection caused by Streptococcus equi subspecies equi and spread through direct contact with other equids or contaminated surfaces. Horses that aren’t showing clinical signs can harbor and spread the bacteria, and recovered horses remain contagious for at least six weeks, with the potential to cause outbreaks long-term.
Infected horses can exhibit a variety of clinical signs:
- Swollen and/or abscessed lymph nodes
- Nasal discharge
- Coughing or wheezing
- Muscle swelling
- Difficulty swallowing
Veterinarians diagnose horses using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing with either a nasal swab, wash, or an abscess sample, and they treat most cases based on clinical signs, implementing antibiotics for severe cases. Overuse of antibiotics can prevent an infected horse from developing immunity. Most horses make a full recovery in three to four weeks.
A vaccine is available but not always effective. Biosecurity measures of quarantining new horses at a facility and maintaining high standards of hygiene and disinfecting surfaces can help lower the risk of outbreak or contain one when it occurs.