Strangles Consensus Statement: A Resource for Veterinarians

The most recent consensus statement on strangles debuted to rave reviews at the June meeting of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) in Minneapolis, Minn. Entitled 2004: Streptococcus equi Infection in Horses: Guidelines for Treatment, Control and Prevention of Strangles, it's still a work in progress, reports Corinne Sweeney, DVM, Dipl. ACVIM, equine internist and professor of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania's New Bolton Center. The comprehensive 34-page document addresses clinical signs, pathogenesis, and epidemiology--transmission and spread, diagnosis, vaccination, control of outbreaks, detection of carriers, treatment, and finally, complications.

"This statement will be based on facts, not personal opinions," says Sweeney. She chairs the group of distinguished specialists in internal medicine, who have been charged with consensus completion, including John F. Timoney, MVB, PhD, DSc, MRCVS, of the University of Kentucky's Gluck Equine Research Center; J. Richard Newton, BVSc, MSc, PhD, FRCVS, of the Animal Health Trust in Newmarket, U.K.; and Melissa T. Hines, DVM, PhD, Dipl. ACVIM, associate professor chief of the equine medicine service of Washington State University.

Why the current emphasis on strangles? "The ACVIM board sought input from membership on topics of strong interest or concern," Sweeney notes. "Two years ago, it was West Nile virus." The strangles consensus is now posted on ACVIM's web site (; input is sought from members, the document revised, then comments are again evaluated prior to final manuscript delivery to the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine in October.

The consensus--a one-stop source of information on strangles for veterinarians--notes, "The following...reflects our current knowledge. The information should be an aid to equine clinicians in devising control programs in the management of strangles outbreaks."

It's good news for veterinarians, and in turn for horse owners who shudder at mere mention of the disease. Debra Sellon, DVM, PhD, president of the ACVIM's Large Animal Specialty of Internal Medicine and associate professor of equine medicine in Veterinary Clinical Sciences at Washington State University, shares that she "couldn't be happier with the way the consensus turned out." She recalls when the paper was presented orally, the audience asked lots of pertinent questions and made positive contributions on subjects for consensus inclusion. "We were impressed that the audience was very appreciative, since this is a topic that can be difficult to deal with. Practitioners and owners call us with questions all the time. Now we'll have answers in one location."

About the Author

Stephanie Stephens

Stephanie Stephens is a USEF Media Award winner and American Horse Publications award winner whose work appears in major consumer magazines worldwide. She lives in Southern Calif., but she splits her time between New Zealand and the United States.

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