These are two (2) diseases caused by bacteria that can have severe effects in horses.


The Tetanus disease is caused by a neurotoxin that is released by the bacteria Clostridium tetani. This bacteria is always present in the horse environment as spores that persist for many years. These spores gain entry into the horses body via a wound and symptoms occur four (4) - twenty -one (21) days after the initial infection. These symptoms include stiffness and cramping of body muscles resulting in extreme stiffness and eventually death. Treatment is expensive, time consuming and generally unsuccessful.


The Strangles disease is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus Equi. This disease is highly infectious and is introduced into the horses environment via a carrier animal. The bacteria causes an upper respiratory tract infection and the formation of abscesses around the throat area.

Strangles Vaccinations

Vaccinations are a reliable, effective and simple aid in the prevention and control of tetanus and strangles. The cost and effort of vaccination is small compared with the probable expense of treatment. Tetanus toxoid is the vaccination against tetanus. Horses can be done at any age. The program involves two (2) vaccinations four (4) \ six (6) weeks apart followed by a booster vaccination 12 months later. Then to ensure strong long lasting immunity, horses should be vaccinated every five (5) years or at the time of injury. Vaccinating mares and giving them a booster two (2) weeks prior to foaling can protect foals younger than three (3) months old.

The strangles vaccination involves an initial course of three (3) doses two (2) weeks apart followed by a booster every twelve (12) months, all horses should be vaccinated, especially those that frequently come in contact with other horses (i.e. at stud, at events, shows or at races). Foals can be done from three (3) months old and younger foals can be protected by vaccinating the mare two (2) weeks prior to foaling.

The tetanus toxiod and strangles vaccination exists as two (2) separate vaccinations. However there is an equally effective combined vaccination on the market.

At the time of injury tetanus toxiod is not an effective protection for unvaccinated horses. These horses should receive a tetanus antitoxin as well as tetanus toxoid at the time of injury. The antitoxin gives immediate protection that will last three (3) weeks and the toxoid will help to develop a long lasting immunity to disease.

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Posted on 2014-12-15

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