British Horse Society Commends Initiative to Prevent Strangles Spread

The British Horse Society (BHS) has commended the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies at Scotland's University of Edinburgh for its offer of at-cost strangles tests to horse owners and farm managers in Scotland. These tests, designed for establishing strangles-free status, are part of an effort to control the spread the disease in Scotland.

The offer follows a recent successful international Strangles Conference held in Edinburgh when BHS Scotland presented a video endoscope to the vet school.

Professor Paddy Dixon said: "The Strangles Conference reinforced the message that careful biosecurity and adhering to STEPS (the Strategy to Eradicate and Prevent Strangles) are currently our best weapons in controlling this infection while we await the development of an effective strangles vaccine.

"The BHS is aware that there are reports of horses being moved from infected yards to other yards, incredibly even during an active outbreak," Dixon continued." Therefore we have decided that we should offer to carry out tests--endoscopy and lavage of the guttural pouches--to obtain samples for bacteriology and PCR (polymerase chain reaction test) examinations, at the Animal Health Trust (AHT), Newmarket, that establishes the infection status of any horse.

"These examinations will be performed for the cost of laboratory tests at the AHT (£28 plus VAT) and sedative drugs/disposables (£25 plus VAT)," said Dixon. "This initiative in combination with the endoscope donation from BHS Scotland will greatly facilitate the identification of carrier animals before they spread the bacterium further. The offer will stand for one year from now and we would, of course, have to have a referral from the owners' vet in order to carry out these investigations."

BHS Scotland chairman Loraine Young said: “This is a very generous offer and an excellent idea because it raises the profile of what is available in the struggle to eradicate strangles in Scotland. BHS Scotland members worked hard to purchase the endoscope with a view to establishing Strangles control. All horse owners should be grateful that a large animal hospital such as the Royal Dick is offering an affordable service that will help towards our aims."

Anyone in Scotland interested in following up this offer should ask their own veterinary surgeon to contact the Large Animal Hospital: 0131 650 6253; fax 0131 650 8824; or e-mail

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