Equine owners are being invited to learn more about the contagious respiratory disease Strangles at a special one-off webinar as part of Strangles Awareness Week which starts on Monday (1st – 7th May).
‘Take the heat out of Strangles in 2023’ is being hosted by World Horse Welfare between 7 pm – 8.30 pm on Wednesday (3rd May).
The event will include a panel discussion on surviving a Strangles outbreak in 2023 and ponder the questions ‘Is Strangles in my area?’ and ‘Why is everyone talking about temperature checking?’.
World Horse Welfare’s Chief Executive Roly Owers will hand the reins over to guest host, Dr David Marlin, who is an equine scientist and President of NEWC, for the event which will include special guest Catrina Termine, FEI Senior Veterinary Advisor, and a video from five-star eventer Piggy March.
Piggy is supporting the campaign to get owners to take the ‘Temp Check Challenge’ - a key feature of this year’s Strangles Awareness Week.
Owners are encouraged to take their horse’s resting temperature each day for seven days, starting on Monday. Those who input the reading into a free online checker three or more times will be entered into a prize draw where they could win behind-the-scenes yard tours with Piggy or top dressage rider Richard Davison and international showjumper Joe Davison.
A high temperature is the most common early sign of infectious disease and, in the case of Strangles, typically comes 2-3 days before horses shed the bacteria and can infect other horses. Getting to know your horse’s normal temperature and checking regularly – especially if they move and mix with others – could give owners and yards the chance to prevent disease spreading and be the difference between one infected horse and many.
Strangles is the most diagnosed equine infectious disease worldwide. Symptoms of the contagious respiratory illness range, but can include a high fever, laboured breathing, difficulty eating, depression, thick nasal discharge and painful abscesses. In severe cases, Strangles can pose a risk to the horse’s life. There can be complications in up to 30% of cases and it is impossible to predict which horses will require extra care and treatment. For the cost of a thermometer and spotting fever, owners can minimise the scale and spread of an outbreak and potentially even save lives.
Dr David Marlin said:
“I am pleased to host this special Strangles Awareness Week webinar, and to chair a new conversation about Strangles. I have personally seen the impact of this potentially devastating disease, having had all my work in a study into respiratory function lost when the stud contracted Strangles, and two foals sadly died. That’s why it is so important to bring together this group of experts in the field to share their knowledge of how we can manage and prevent outbreaks.
“The panel of vets, horse owners and venue managers will also share their lessons from their own outbreaks, and steps that anyone in the equestrian industry can and should take to level up their biosecurity – including the importance of temperature checking to mitigate the scale and impact of outbreaks. Horse owners looking for credible and practical advice on Strangles prevention and outbreak management should attend the seminar, follow the Facebook account and take part in the Temp Check Challenge.”