Call for action on equine disease

three horses

A national awareness week will aim to tackle the stigma of strangles.

A national week of action encouraging people to speak out and challenge the stigma of the UK’s most prevalent equine disease is returning this year.

Around 600 cases of Strangles - a highly contagious respiratory disease - occur across the UK every year.

SRUC, which runs the Premium Assured Strangles Scheme (PASS) initiative, is supporting the second national Strangles Awareness Week which aims to provide horse owners, yard managers, vets and equine professionals with a platform to share their own stories and promote support for those affected by Strangles.

Strangles can be distressing for a horse, with possible symptoms ranging from laboured breathing, difficulty eating and depression, to a high fever, thick nasal discharge and painful abscesses, and in severe cases can even pose a risk to the horse’s life.

An outbreak can also be financially and emotionally devastating for owners and equestrian businesses with horses often remaining infectious for several weeks, resulting in costly and lengthy quarantine procedures with the potential for temporary closure of livery yards and the cancellation of events.

However, while Strangles can happen to any horse, the stigma around the disease can prevent those affected from being open about an outbreak, with 75 per cent of all yard managers responding to an online survey identifying fear as one of the main barriers to talking about Strangles publicly.

Alison Braddock, Marketing and Business Development Manager for SRUC Veterinary Services, said: “SRUC is delighted to be supporting Strangles Awareness Week 2021. We are looking forward to participating with PASS members, our client veterinary practices, and SRUC colleagues and students, to share our Strangles stories and experiences and help communicate best practice to combat this horrible disease.”

Strangles Awareness Week 2021, organised by the British Horse Society, Intervacc, Keeping Britain’s Horses Healthy, Redwings Horse Sanctuary, SRUC’s Premium Assured Strangles Scheme (PASS), Surveillance of Equine Strangles (SES), The (Dick) Royal School of Veterinary Studies and World Horse Welfare, will take place from 3 to 9 May.

Further information about what to expect during this year’s Strangles Awareness Week will be made available soon. If you are a horse owner, yard manager, vet or equine professional and would like to join a list of ambassadors to help promote the Week through social media, please email:

Posted by SRUC on 01/03/2021

Tags: Equine, Veterinary Services, Disease
Categories: SRUC and Campuses