Strangles is a highly transmissible, contagious disease. Readily spread on clothes, tack, buckets and other modes of indirect transmission, the virus is caused by Streptococcus equi subspecies equi (S. equi).
Good biosecurity is key to preventing the spread of disease, including isolating affected horses as well as using separate equipment and clothing when handling the ill horse. Additionally, disinfecting everything that comes into contact with the ill animal is necessary.
However, while there are many practices that can be enforced to stop the spread of disease, one way strangles is spread indirectly is difficult to stop: through face flies.
Drs. Pusterla, Bowers, Barnum and Hall created a study that captured 1,856 face flies in fly traps on a farm that had a confirmed strangles outbreak. The flies were tested to see if they carried S equi. Ten of the flies tested positive for strangles.
The scientists conclude that face flies may transmit strangles between horses. They recommend that in addition to the traditional biosecurity measures that fly control measures be used to reduce the potential spread of strangles.
Read more at Equine Science Update.
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