Monday, February 11, 2008

Straight Talk About Strangles - Full Story

Debunk the four biggest myths about the highly contagious disease strangles.

By Eliza R.L. McGraw

Maybe it's the name that amplifies the dread horsepeople tend to feel when the grapevine rumors a neighborhood infection. Certainly, no one who's had to nurse a horse through to recovery wants a repeat experience, and anyone who's read John Steinbeck's The Red Pony about a young boy's first exposure to death and loss can't help but expect the worst of the disease. Yes, strangles has a terrible name and a worse reputation. Horses who come down with a Streptococcus equi infection get an ugly kind of sick, and they seem to be knocked out of training forever.

"People have definitely gotten more panicked about strangles over the years," says George Sengstack, manager of Callithea Farm, a 60-horse boarding stable in Potomac, Maryland. "Fourteen years ago, before we had horses trailering in and out, I had a horse who got strangles. We kept him away from the other horses in a round pen and were really careful [about using separate equipment]. He got better, and it wasn't a big ordeal."


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