Preventing the Spread of Bacteria and Virus in Stables, Arenas and Horse Transportation
Often referred to as equine plague, Strangles is a bacterial infection caused by bacterium Streptococcus equi, one of the most common contagious illnesses in the horse world.
It can be life-threatening therefore acting quickly is vital - isolate your horse immediately from other animals, disinfect everything - all animals, rugs, equipments, the yard and the stable - and contact your vet urgently if you notice the symptoms of nasal discharge, swollen lymph nodes and/or abscesses in the area of your horse or pony's neck, often accompanied by fever, a loss of appetite and a change of mood.
Prevention is so much easier than having to worry about a cure.
The most obvious course of action is to use an effective body wash, one that is proven to kill at least 99.
999% of bacteria.
A non-irritant, non-toxic shampoo should be used on all animals at risk.
Choose your products carefully.
In some products, alcohol is used but it denatures only the external membrane proteins, temporarily disabling rather than killing the bacteria/pathogen.
It is possible that these products could eventually increase the problem by allowing a more resistant regeneration.
Look for a solution that destroys the DNA and RNA, to eliminate the risk of bacteria/pathogen developing a resistance to the treatment.
Rugs, whether you wash them yourself or use a professional service, should receive the same care - they should not only be clean but free from bacteria and fungal infestations.
Ensure than an effective anti-bacterial rug wash is used.
Equally importantly, the environment should be kept washed regularly with an effective non-toxic, non-corrosive solution - not only the floors and walls of the stable, the yard and horse boxes but also rubber matting, boots, tack, etc.
Clean round your horse's environment just as you would your own.
Most viruses, including strangles, are not just transmitted directly but can be caught from sharing a feed bucket or contained water source, sharing rugs, tack or grooming items, using a horsebox or stable vacated by an infected animal.
Clothing, boots and even wildlife can carry bacteria between horses and other animals.
The Bristol-based charity, HorseWorld, has published a fact sheet about strangles.
You can control your environment but what happens when you take your horse to an event? If you are hiring transport, can you ensure that the owners have cleaned the horsebox responsibly since the previous occupant disembarked? Is the shared stabling at the area cleaned between temporary occupation? Responsible companies with good reputations will be happy to confirm that each stable or horse box is sprayed and rinsed with an anti-bacterial product before and after accommodating your horse.
It's a five minute job and should be part of the service.