Strangles Awareness Week starts today (May 1) with the aim of encouraging owners to do regular temperature checking of their horses to minimise the scale and impact of a Strangles outbreak.
The key feature of the campaign – now in its fourth year – is the ‘Temp Check Challenge’.
Horse owners will be encouraged to take their horse’s resting temperature each day during the week.
Those who input the reading into a free online checker three or more times will be entered into a prize draw where they could win behind the scenes yard tours with either five-star Eventer Piggy March or top Dressage Rider and Showjumper Richard and Joe Davison.
A high temperature is an early warning sign a horse may have been infected with Strangles – and will become infectious to other horses two – three days later – so getting to know your horse’s ‘normal’ temperature could prevent disease spreading.
The free pack aimed at yards includes ten thermometers, artwork and post text for websites and social media, bunting, flyers and a poster to encourage horse owners to get involved.
Andie McPherson, Campaigns Manager at Redwings Horse Sanctuary, said: “We really hope this year’s campaign will be embraced by yards and event venues as well as individual owners of course. Hickstead, the All England Jumping Course, Hartpury University and Hartpury College and the Scottish National Equestrian Centre have all already signed up.
“The Temp Check Challenge is a fun way to introduce temperature checking through an ‘all yard approach’ in addition to quarantine and screening measures.
“It gives horse owners a temperature record they can share with their yard manager or anyone caring for their horse, so is empowering for owners and yard managers especially if horses move on and off yards.”
Strangles is the most diagnosed equine disease worldwide. Symptoms of the contagious respiratory illness range, but include a high fever, laboured breathing, difficulty eating, depression, thick nasal discharge and painful abscesses.
In severe cases Strangles can pose a risk to the horse’s life. There are complications in approximately 30 per cent of cases and it is impossible to know which horses will require extra care and treatment.
For the cost of a thermometer and spotting fever, owners can minimise scale and spread.
For more information about Strangles click here bransbyhorses.co.uk/what-we-do/equine-advice/strangles/