Equine strangles confirmed in 4 Florida counties

The affected horses are located in Marion, Palm Beach, Volusia and Osceola counties.
Two horses muzzles touching each other

Equine strangles cases have recently been confirmed in four counties in Florida, including Marion, Palm Beach, Volusia and Osceola counties. 

In Marion County, one horse at a private facility is confirmed positive, and seven horses are exposed. Also in Marion County, one horse at a boarding facility is positive, and 16 horses are exposed. 

In Palm Beach County, one horse is confirmed positive at a boarding facility. 

In Volusia County, one horse at a private facility is positive, and five horses are exposed. 

In Osceola County, one horse at a training facility is positive, and 20 horses are exposed. 

All the affected horses are under official 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.

About strangles

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:

  • Fever
  • 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.

Brought to you by Boehringer Ingelheim, The Art of the Horse

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