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Strangles is a common, contagious, abscess-forming disease of horses, donkeys and ponies caused by the bacterium Steptococcus equi.

How is it transmitted?  The disease is spread by nasal secretions and from pus draining from abscesses that contaminate equipment, feed, clothing and hands.

Snotty nose - a sign of strangles!

Signs in horses ?  Profuse nasal discharge and swelling around the throat and neck region, with difficulty breathing especially in younger horses. Some horses may develop internal abscess that result in severe weight loss and debility. A strangles vaccine is availible thru your veterinarian.

snotty nose
Nasal discharge in a horse with strangles

throat latch lesion
Strangles abcess drain pus  
More information at Merck Vet Manual: