Testing Horses

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Testing horses prior to their introduction to new premises
More details on methods for prevention of introduction of strangles onto equine premises are available in the ‘Strategy to eradicate and prevent Strangles (STEPS)’ document

Horses entering new premises should be quarantined for 3-4 weeks in case they are incubating diseases such as equine influenza or strangles. With strangles, infected horses may or may not have clinical signs or they may be subclinical carriers. All new arrivals should be examined for signs of illness (high temperatures, dullness, not eating, nasal discharge, swollen or abscessed lymph glands around the head or neck). Any horses with such signs should be immediately isolated and veterinary advice sought.

Routine use of the strangles ELISA blood test during isolation can identify previously infected and potentially infectious horses quickly. Ideally samples should be taken on arrival and after three weeks isolation to check for rising antibody levels (seroconversion) indicating an immune response after exposure to S. equi. If any of the quarantined horses are ELISA blood test positive on either the first or second test then further swab/wash testing (using qPCR or culture and qPCR) is required in order to determine whether the positive animals are carrying S. equi (see Diagnosis above).

Note: Advice on testing horses prior to their introduction into new premises and at the end of a strangles outbreak is available on the Animal Health Trust's website