Strangles outbreak

A LONGFORD property is under self-imposed quarantine after three horses were diagnosed with the notifiable disease strangles.

The horses’ owner said she was “gobsmacked” .

“I’m taking all proper precautions,” she said.

“I’ve got bleach to wash boots with; I’ve been washing all the buckets and troughs.

“It’ll be like this for at least the next three months, until April, but I don’t know how long it will stick around.”

Dr Mark Neilan, a veterinarian from animal clinic Maffra and Equine Sports Therapy, said the disease was not common in the area.

“It’s preventable through vaccination,” he said.

“There have been other districts affected, and the outbreak appears to have spread from Melbourne.”

Strangles is a bacterial infection which affects horses, ponies and donkeys.

Early symptoms include swelling of the throat and under the jaw, difficulty eating, high fever and general malaise.

Eventually the infection can worsen, which results in abscesses that require surgical draining.

The highly contagious disease can linger in horses for months, often without presenting symptoms.

It is a notifiable disease, and the Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources must be told as soon as possible about infections.

There is no regulatory action taken if Strangles is detected on properties.

Properties are not placed under quarantine, but bio-security measures are advised to prevent spread, and information is kept confidential.

Notification can be made by telephone to the District Veterinarian or Animal Health officer at local DEDJTR offices, or phone the department’s customer service centre on 136 186 for assistance.