Is There A Vaccine For Strangles In Horses?

Looking for a solution to prevent strangles in horses? Good news! There is a vaccine available that can help protect your equine companions from this highly contagious and potentially dangerous infection. Strangles, caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi, can lead to symptoms such as fever, nasal discharge, and swollen lymph nodes. By vaccinating your horses, you can significantly reduce the risk of strangles, ensuring their health and well-being.

is there a vaccine for strangles in horses

Importance of Vaccination in Preventing Strangles in Horses

Vaccination plays a crucial role in preventing the spread of infectious diseases among horses. One such disease that can have devastating consequences is strangles. Strangles is a highly contagious bacterial infection that affects the upper respiratory tract of horses. It is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus equi.

The primary mode of transmission for strangles is through direct contact with an infected horse or through contaminated objects such as water troughs, feed buckets, and grooming tools. The bacteria can survive in the environment for extended periods, making it difficult to control the spread of the disease.

Benefits of Vaccination

Vaccination provides several benefits in preventing strangles and minimizing its impact on the equine population. Here are some key benefits:

  • Prevention of Disease: Vaccination helps stimulate the horse’s immune system to recognize and fight against the bacteria that cause strangles. By developing immunity, vaccinated horses are less likely to contract the disease or experience severe symptoms.
  • Reduction in Transmission: Vaccinated horses have a lower risk of becoming carriers of the bacteria, which means they are less likely to shed the bacteria and infect other horses. This helps break the chain of transmission and reduces the overall prevalence of the disease.
  • Protection of Young Horses: Foals and young horses are particularly vulnerable to strangles due to their developing immune systems. Vaccinating them at the appropriate age helps provide early protection, reducing the severity of the disease if they are exposed to the bacteria.
  • Minimization of Outbreaks: Vaccination plays a crucial role in preventing the spread of strangles within horse populations, such as in boarding facilities, equestrian events, and racing venues. By ensuring a high vaccination coverage, the risk of outbreaks can be significantly reduced.

Types of Vaccines

There are different types of vaccines available for the prevention of strangles in horses. The most common ones include:

Vaccine Type Description
Inactivated Vaccine This type of vaccine contains killed or inactivated bacteria that stimulate the immune system to produce a protective response. It requires multiple doses to achieve full immunity.
Modified Live Vaccine Modified live vaccines contain weakened bacteria that can still replicate but are unlikely to cause disease. They provide a strong immune response and require fewer doses for immunity.
Recumbent Vaccine This type of vaccine contains a specific protein of the bacteria, which triggers an immune response. It is often used as an additional booster for horses at high risk of exposure.

Vaccination Schedule

The vaccination schedule for strangles may vary depending on the type of vaccine and the horse’s age. It is essential to consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate vaccination protocol for your horse. Generally, the vaccination schedule includes an initial series of primary vaccinations followed by annual boosters to maintain immunity.

In summary, vaccination is of utmost importance in preventing the spread of strangles in horses. By vaccinating horses, we can significantly reduce the risk of disease transmission, protect young horses, minimize outbreaks, and safeguard the overall equine population. Consult with a veterinarian to establish an appropriate vaccination schedule and help ensure the health and well-being of your horses.

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Available Vaccines for Strangles in Horses: Types and Efficacy

Strangles is a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects horses. It is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi. Vaccination is an effective way to prevent and control the spread of strangles in equine populations. In this section, we will explore the various types of vaccines available for strangles in horses and their efficacy.

1. Killed Vaccines

Killed vaccines for strangles contain inactivated or killed forms of the Streptococcus equi bacterium. These vaccines stimulate the horse’s immune system to produce an immune response against the bacterium. Killed vaccines are typically administered via intramuscular injection.

The efficacy of killed vaccines may vary depending on the specific vaccine and the individual horse’s immune response. These vaccines generally provide a good level of protection against strangles, but booster shots may be required to maintain immunity.

2. Modified Live Vaccines

Modified live vaccines (MLV) for strangles contain weakened forms of the Streptococcus equi bacterium. These vaccines replicate in the horse’s body, stimulating a strong immune response. MLV vaccines are usually administered via intranasal administration, directly into the horse’s nostrils.

Modified live vaccines have been shown to provide a robust and long-lasting immune response against strangles. However, they carry a slightly higher risk of causing adverse reactions compared to killed vaccines.

3. Combination Vaccines

Combination vaccines for strangles are available, which provide protection against other respiratory diseases in addition to strangles. These vaccines may include antigens for diseases such as equine influenza and equine herpesvirus.

The combination vaccines offer convenience by reducing the number of injections required and provide comprehensive protection against multiple diseases. However, it is important to consult with a veterinarian to determine the appropriate combination vaccine based on the specific needs and risk factors for each horse.

4. Efficacy and Boosters

The efficacy of strangles vaccines can vary based on several factors, including the vaccine type, individual horse’s immune response, and the prevalence of the disease in the area. It is important to follow the manufacturer’s guidelines and consult with a veterinarian for the recommended vaccination schedule.

In some cases, horses may require booster vaccinations to maintain immunity. Booster shots are typically given annually or as recommended by the veterinarian. Regular vaccination and booster shots play a critical role in preventing and controlling the spread of strangles in horse populations.

In summary, vaccination is an essential tool in the prevention and control of strangles in horses. Available vaccines include killed vaccines, modified live vaccines, and combination vaccines. Each vaccine type has its own advantages and considerations in terms of efficacy and administration. Working closely with a veterinarian is crucial in determining the most suitable vaccine and vaccination schedule for individual horses to ensure optimal protection against this contagious respiratory disease.

Factors to Consider before Administering Strangles Vaccine to Horses

Administering the strangles vaccine is an essential aspect of equine healthcare. Strangles is a highly contagious and potentially dangerous respiratory disease that affects horses. The vaccine helps protect horses against this disease by stimulating their immune system to produce antibodies. However, before administering the vaccine, there are several important factors that need to be considered to ensure the health and well-being of the horses. In this section, we will discuss these factors in detail.

1. Age and Health Condition of the Horse

The age and overall health condition of the horse play a crucial role in determining the appropriate time for administering the strangles vaccine. It is generally recommended to wait until the horse is at least four months old before giving them the vaccine. Additionally, horses with compromised immune systems or underlying health issues may require special consideration and consultation with a veterinarian before vaccination.

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2. Exposure to Strangles

Assessing the horse’s exposure to strangles is another crucial factor. If the horse has been exposed to strangles recently or has been in contact with infected horses, administering the vaccine may not be recommended. In such cases, it is important to isolate the horse and monitor for any signs of infection before proceeding with vaccination.

3. Vaccination Schedule

The strangles vaccine is typically administered in a two-dose series, with an initial vaccination followed by a booster shot. It is essential to follow the recommended vaccination schedule and timing as suggested by the manufacturer or veterinarian. Deviating from the proper schedule may compromise the effectiveness of the vaccine and leave the horse susceptible to the disease.

4. Potential Side Effects

Before administering the strangles vaccine, it is important to be aware of the potential side effects that may occur. While adverse reactions are rare, horses may experience temporary swelling, soreness, or mild fever at the injection site. It is important to closely monitor the horse after vaccination and seek veterinary attention if any severe or prolonged side effects occur.

5. Biosecurity Measures

Implementing proper biosecurity measures is crucial when administering the strangles vaccine. This includes practicing good hygiene, disinfecting equipment, and maintaining a clean environment. It is important to prevent cross-contamination and minimize the risk of spreading the disease during the vaccination process.

6. Consultation with a Veterinarian

Ultimately, it is highly recommended to consult with a veterinarian before administering the strangles vaccine. A veterinarian can assess the individual horse’s health condition, evaluate the risk of exposure, and provide guidance on the appropriate vaccination protocol. They can also address any specific concerns or questions related to the vaccination process.

In summary, administering the strangles vaccine to horses is an important preventative measure against the highly contagious disease. Considering factors such as the age and health condition of the horse, exposure to strangles, vaccination schedule, potential side effects, biosecurity measures, and consultation with a veterinarian ensures the safe and effective administration of the vaccine. By taking these factors into account, horse owners can protect the health and well-being of their equine companions.

Tips for Properly Vaccinating Horses against Strangles

Strangles is a highly contagious and potentially serious equine respiratory disease caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi. It is characterized by fever, nasal discharge, difficulty swallowing, and swollen lymph nodes. Vaccination is an important preventive measure to protect horses from this disease. However, it is crucial to ensure that the vaccination protocol is followed correctly to maximize its effectiveness. In this section, we will discuss some tips for properly vaccinating horses against strangles.

1. Consult with a Veterinarian

Before vaccinating your horse against strangles, it is advisable to consult with a veterinarian. They will be able to assess your horse’s health and provide guidance on the appropriate vaccination schedule. The veterinarian will also recommend the most suitable vaccine based on your horse’s age, overall health, and exposure risks.

2. Follow the Recommended Vaccination Schedule

It is important to follow the recommended vaccination schedule for strangles. This typically involves an initial round of vaccinations followed by booster shots at regular intervals. The exact schedule may vary depending on the vaccine manufacturer and your horse’s individual needs. Ensure that you adhere to the recommended timing to maintain the horse’s immunity against strangles.

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3. Proper Vaccine Storage and Handling

Vaccines are delicate biological products that require proper storage and handling to maintain their efficacy. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for vaccine storage temperature and avoid exposing the vaccine to extreme heat or freezing temperatures. Additionally, always check the vaccine’s expiration date before administration.

4. Administer the Vaccine Correctly

Proper administration of the strangles vaccine is essential for its effectiveness. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Ensure that the horse is healthy and free from any fever or illness before vaccination.
  • Use a clean and sterile needle and syringe for each horse to prevent cross-contamination.
  • Follow the recommended dosage and route of administration (intramuscular or intranasal) specified by the manufacturer.
  • Inject the vaccine at the appropriate site, typically the neck muscles for intramuscular injections.

5. Monitor for Potential Side Effects

After vaccination, it is important to closely monitor the horse for any potential side effects. While adverse reactions are rare, they can occur. Common side effects may include mild swelling or soreness at the injection site, mild fever, or lethargy. Contact your veterinarian if you notice any severe or persistent adverse reactions.

6. Maintain Biosecurity Measures

Vaccination alone is not sufficient to prevent strangles; it should be complemented with appropriate biosecurity measures. Strangles is highly contagious, and horses can be exposed to the bacteria through direct contact with infected animals or contaminated equipment. Implementing good biosecurity practices, such as regular disinfection of stables, isolation of sick horses, and proper hygiene, can help minimize the risk of disease transmission.


Vaccinating horses against strangles is an important preventive measure to protect them from this contagious respiratory disease. By following the recommended vaccination schedule, consulting with a veterinarian, ensuring proper vaccine storage and administration, monitoring for potential side effects, and maintaining biosecurity measures, horse owners can effectively protect their animals from strangles and promote overall equine health.


Is there a vaccine for strangles in horses?

Yes, there is a vaccine available for strangles in horses. The vaccine helps to prevent infection and reduce the severity of the disease. It is recommended to consult with your veterinarian to determine the appropriate vaccination schedule for your horse.


In conclusion, while there is no specific vaccine for strangles in horses, there are preventive measures that can be taken to reduce the risk of infection. Regularly practicing good biosecurity protocols, such as quarantining new horses, disinfecting equipment, and limiting contact between horses, can help minimize the spread of the disease.

Additionally, early detection and prompt isolation of infected horses can aid in controlling the outbreak. It is crucial for horse owners to work closely with their veterinarians and follow their guidance when dealing with strangles cases.

By implementing these preventive measures and maintaining a proactive approach to horse health, the risk of strangles can be effectively managed within a herd, ensuring the well-being and safety of the horses.