Strangles Can Affect All Horses

The use of vaccines can aid in horse health and help control diseases.

From AQHA Corporate Partner Pfizer Animal Health

Strangles can affect American Quarter Horses of all ages and types. It’s important to not only know how to help prevent it in your own horses but also how to help prevent an outbreak.

Strangles is a highly contagious upper respiratory infection caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi.

It can affect horses of all ages, but typically horses under 5 years of age are at higher risk.1 The risk of exposure to strangles is increased when horses travel, trail ride with other horses, compete frequently or move from facility to facility. The disease can spread quickly in a stable or show setting and is easily transmitted through direct animal-to-animal contact or by objects that may have come in contact with infected horses, such as buckets, bridles or even the hands of the caretakers. Since the disease can spread quickly and the origin isn’t easily traced, these horses can be at high risk to contract the disease if not properly vaccinated.

Also, horses that have recovered from strangles can harbor S. equi and may continue to shed the bacterium without displaying any clinical symptoms, such as fever, difficulty swallowing, abnormal breathing, nasal discharge, swelling and/or abscesses of the lymph nodes.

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Preventive measures can help avoid new or repeated outbreaks. These measures should involve good biosecurity, hygiene, nutrition and vaccination for at-risk horses.

Vaccines such as PINNACLE® I.N. can help. PINNACLE I.N. is the only two-dose, modified-live vaccine developed to help prevent strangles caused by S. equi. PINNACLE I.N. uses a specially designed cannula that delivers the intranasal vaccine to the pharyngeal or throat area. This vaccine is available through your veterinarian. Vaccination generally is recommended for young horses, horses kept at facilities with previous strangles infections and horses that travel or are exposed to other horses on a routine basis.2

To help prevent strangles from affecting your horse and your entire stable, seek the advice of your veterinarian. He or she can help determine your risk and best vaccination protocol when it comes to helping provide protection against strangles.

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For more information on PINNACLE I.N., contact your Pfizer Animal Health representative, call 855-4AH-PFIZER (855-424-7349) or visit

1 American Association of Equine Practitioners. Strangles (Streptococcus equi). 2012. Available at: Accessed June 29, 2012.
2 American Association of Equine Practitioners. Understanding Equine Strangles. 2008. Available at: Accessed June 29, 2012.

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