Strangles reported in Hillsborough County horses

One premises in Hillsborough County, Florida was placed under quarantine on Dec. 3 after 4 horses began displaying clinical signs of Strangles with two confirmed test results. There are 34 horses on the property, according to a Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) alert.

Image/Dusan Bicanski

The highly contagious upper respiratory disease of equids, known as Strangles, is caused by the gram-positive β-hemolytic bacterium Streptococcus equi ssp. equi.

The organism, Streptococcus equi ssp. equi, can be transmitted via direct contact with nasal or ocular secretions or lymph node discharge from infected horses or via indirect exposure to contaminated trailers, stalls, riding equipment, buckets, halters, lead ropes, brushes, clothing, etc.

The incubation period typically ranges between two and six days but may last up to 14 days.

Classic symptoms may include fever (103 degrees F or higher), mucopurulent nasal discharge, lymphadenopathy (+/- abscessation), general malaise, pharyngitis, dysphagia, upper airway stridor and respiratory distress.

Clinical signs are often age-related, with older horses exhibiting milder symptoms of shorter duration.

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