Utah Department of Agriculture and Food

Biosecurity Reminder For Utah Horse Owners


Recent Outbreaks of Strangles are a Reminder for
Equine Owners to Practice Good Biosecurity

(Salt Lake City)  The Utah Department of Agriculture and Food State Veterinarian, Dr. Barry Pittman, is using recent outbreaks of Strangles (Streptococcus equi) in Nevada and western Colorado to remind horse owners to be vigilant for signs of illness in their animals, especially when returning from shows or rodeo events.  Although not a reportable disease in Utah, this disease is of concern as it is highly contagious and symptoms associated with infection can be severe. Initial signs of infection are fever, trouble swallowing, noisy breathing, and swollen lymph nodes, followed by the development of thick nasal discharge due to abscess formation in the head and neck region.  

     This disease affects horses, donkeys, and mules, but poses no threat to other animals or human health.

     The bacteria are spread by direct contact with an infected horse or a horse that may be carrying the bacteria without showing clinical signs.  The disease can also be spread by contact with water troughs, equipment, or people that have been in contact with an infected horse. For this reason, it is not uncommon for horses to acquire the disease after attending a show or other large event where they may have a greater chance of being exposed to an infected horse.  
The information above is a reminder to practice good biosecurity when traveling with your horse.  Don't share tack, feed tubs, water containers, trailers, pens or stalls used by horses of unknown health status.  Though fatal complications associated with this disease are rare, it is a good idea to consult with your local veterinarian about treatment and supportive care options if your horse begins to show any of the above symptoms.  Antibiotic therapy may or may not be warranted, depending on severity of clinical signs.


Contact: Larry Lewis (801) 538-7104
 Cell (801) 514-2152
Dr. Barry Pittman, State Veterinarian,  801-538-7162