Horse warning follows strangles cases

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FOLLOWING several cases of Strangles in the Dumfries and Galloway area, The British Horse Society wants to remind horse owners that first class hygiene procedures combined with isolation of infected cases are the best weapons to prevent the spread of this disease.

Strangles is one of the most contagious equine diseases in the world. Symptoms to look out for include fever, loss of appetite, depression, marked “snotty” nasal discharge (this is the most common symptom), lymph node swelling and abscesses predominantly of the head and neck. Anyone seeing these symptoms in their horse should ring their veterinary surgeon immediately.

The disease can be transmitted both by direct and indirect contact, by things such as grooming kit, feed buckets or even people. Important measures are required to help prevent the spread of this disease, especially isolating any new or sick horses coming into the yard and scrupulous hygiene procedures, such as washing your hands, changing clothes and equipment between horses.

Further advice can be found on the BHS Scotland website, www.bhsscotland.org.uk, including the ‘Strategy to Eradicate and Prevent Strangles’ (STEPS) leaflet. This is a useful and comprehensive guide that has been drawn up by the Scottish Strangles Strategy Group, a body comprising of equine and welfare organisations and veterinary surgeons. STEPS provide simple advice for every owner on how to protect your horse.

BHS Scotland Development Officer, Helene Mauchlen says: “The most important thing is that people who keep their horses in a yard that is infected absolutely must not travel and mingle with other horses until their yard has been given the all clear by a veterinary surgeon. Other owners should not panic but stay vigilant and follow advice.”