Fundraising Campaign Launched to Fight Strangles in Britain

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(edited from a press release)

(Thursday, 1 February) The British Horse Society (BHS) and the Animal Health Trust (AHT) today launched a campaign to raise ?250,000 (approximately US$500,000) to eradicate the equine disease known as "Strangles."

HRH The Princess Royal, known abroad as Princess Anne, helped the two charities launch the campaign at the Royal Society of Medicine, London. Regional launches will take place over the next week in seven cities in England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales.

Princess Anne said, "This is the beginning of a serious campaign that could make a real difference in welfare and economic terms to those involved in the equine industry."

Strangles, which is triggered by the bacterium Streptococcus equi, is one of the world's most common equine respiratory diseases, and kills up to 10 percent of the horses it attacks, according to the BHS/AHT report.

When a horse contracts the disease, it initially loses its energy and appetite. Swelling and abscesses occur around the throat. The horse then finds it hard to breath and swallow, and may act as if it is being strangled (hence the name "Strangles"). When the abscesses rupture, other horses can be infected. If the abscesses spread to other parts of the horse's body, the condition is usually fatal.

Some horses survive the disease but become "carriers" without any exterior symptoms. Carrier horses may go on to infect other horses over time.

British eventing legend Lucinda Green said: "Strangles is a problem we can no longer afford to ignore. Every horse owner should be aware of the threat and be prepared to join in the fight against it."

Top show jumper Nick Skelton said: "Strangles is a terrible disease that causes great distress to horses. I fully support The British Horse Society and The Animal Health Trust in their efforts to eradicate the disease."

About the researchers: The AHT, based in Newmarket, England, is a charity dedicated to improving the health of dogs, cats and horses by addressing the problems of disease and injury. It achieves this by providing specialist clinical services for animals in need and by advancing veterinary science. Even if your horse or pet has never been treated directly by the AHT, it will have benefited from the results of the Trust's work.

The British Horse Society is the UK's biggest horse charity with a membership of more than 100,000 horse enthusiasts. BHS held a Strangles Awareness Week in Britain in 2006 and BHS Scotland has been lobbying in the Scottish Parliament for new measures to help to slow the spread of Strangles in Scotland.

To donate to the fundraising effort, send contributions to Strangles Appeal, Animal Health Trust, FREEPOST CB360, Lanwades Park, Kentford, Newmarket, Suffolk, England CB8 7BR.

Please see accompanying post on strangles research at the AHT to learn more about the direction of the research to be funded.

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