Although Strangles is not as deadly as some other diseases, it is one of the toughest horse ailments. Once a horse is infected, it can be so severe, and hard to contain because of its contagious nature. It is an upper respiratory disease caused by the bacteria Streptococcus equi that mainly infects young and na?ve horses. It is a blockage of the airway that leads to suffocation. The infection enters through nasal and oral routes and is carried by infected purulent material.
Some classic clinical signs of strangles include:
Accurate diagnosis can be achieved from the use of a bacterial culture of nasal swabs from an abscessed lymph node. If the horse is believed to be infected, it should be isolated immediately to prevent the infection of other animals. The use of penicillin is strongly discouraged as it causes the horse to be even more miserable and restless. It also causes Bastard Strangles, which spreads the infection to the thorax, abdomen, and brain.
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