horse with strangles

Figure 1A horse with mucopurulent nasal discharge- typical of Strangles. Source

Strangles is a highly contagious and infectious disease of the upper airway.

Horses, ponies and donkeys may be affected.

Infection occurs when at risk horses come into contact with infected horses. This can be through direct or indirect contact with contaminated items such as feed and water buckets, tack, transport vehicles, stables, or via a person’s hands and clothing.

Strangles is a common disease that is occurs more often in younger horses, but can happen in horses of any age.

Outbreaks may follow the mixing of groups of horses or the introduction of new horses onto a property.

Adapted from Guidelines for dealing with Strangles outbreaks, Equine Veterinarians Australia


  • Acute fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Thick mucus discharge from nose
  • Lymph nodes may abscess

If you suspect strangles you should call a vet immediately.

The links below contain information about:

  • biosecurity to prevent the spread of the virus
  • how to care for a horse with strangles

Further information about Strangles:

VIC: Department of Agriculture

NSW: Department of Primary Industries

QLD: Department of Agriculture and Fisheries

WA: Department of Agriculture and Food

TAS: Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and the Environment

NT: Northern Territory Government

Breakthrough in Strangles vaccine research

New research published this week shows how scientists have moved a step closer to developing a vaccine to ...

Information for the Control of Strangles in Horses

This document provides practical information on how to manage and control strangles in horses. Introduction ...

Best health practice for horse shows and events

Have horse – will travel! Every weekend thousands of Australians join together in the love of equine ...

Practical management of strangles outbreaks in horses

Strangles outbreaks can be devastating to equine businesses, but the damage can be minimised or prevented ...

Horse Venue Biosecurity Workbook

A self-evaluation guide for managers of all horse venues including racecourses, showgrounds, riding and pony ...