Strangles is the most commonly diagnosed infectious disease of horses around the world. It is said to represent the equine equivalent of the human plague and can prove fatal.
We’re delighted to announce the ‘Breaking the Strangles Hold’ campaign has smashed its fundraising target of £250,000. This demonstrates just how important, to horse owners,getting to grips with this terrible disease is.
Graham Cory, The BHS Chief Executive, said: “Along with raising funds for the scientific work, key to this campaign has been tackling the stigma of Strangles. By encouraging horse owners and vets to talk about it, we’ve heightened awareness of early symptoms to look out for.
“Empowering people with knowledge gives them the confidence to call their vet at the first sign of infection, which prevents the further spread of disease.”
Money donated from the general public, along with funding from The Horse Trust, has allowed scientists at the AHT to develop a revolutionary diagnostic blood test to screen for exposure to the infection. The blood test was launched in February 2008 and since then more than 6,700 samples have been tested.
HRH The Princess Royal, who launched the ‘Breaking the Strangles Hold’ campaign, said: “As an owner who has seen my own horse’s affected by this terrible disease, it’s wonderful to see such progress being made in a relatively short time.
“The screening test enables owners to know within 24 hours if any of their horses have been exposed to this bacterium. Previously available tests would have taken three to four days. The test is making a real difference in welfare and economic terms for all those involved in the equine industry. It truly is groundbreaking.”
The AHT has now received further funding for its strangles work from the Wellcome Trust. This money will help in scientists to reduce the time taken to diagnose the disease.
Strangles Diagnosis in 30 Minutes a Real Possibility
The AHT’s ‘Breaking the Strangles Hold’ campaign has taken a new step towards eradicating the disease. The ‘Breaking the Strangles Hold’ campaign reached its fundraising target of £250,000 in just two years, demonstrating how important, to horse owners, getting to grips with this terrible disease is.
By 2008, money donated from the general public, along with funding from The Horse Trust, allowed scientists at the AHT to develop a diagnostic blood test to screen for exposure to the infection. Since then more than 6,700 samples have been tested and many new outbreaks averted.
The success of this diagnostic work has attracted further funding from the Wellcome Trust in the form of a Translation Award, the first of its kind to be awarded to a veterinary project. The award of more than £580,000, will enable our scientists to develop another diagnostic test that detects minute quantities of DNA specific to the strangles bug. Their goal is to reduce the time taken to diagnose the disease and ultimately produce a point-of-care test that vets can use on site to get a diagnosis in 30 minutes. Earlier diagnosis will allow owners to isolate horses sooner and minimise the spread of infection.
Professor Andrew Waller, Head of Bacteriology at the AHT, said: “This technology has massive potential and is likely to be of great benefit for the identification of other diseases too, of both veterinary and clinical importance. Without the money raised through the ‘Breaking the Strangles Hold’ campaign, we wouldn’t have made as much progress. On behalf of horses and horse owners worldwide, I’d like to thank everyone who has donated.”
Event: 27th and 28th May- Getting to grips with Strangles, Ulfsunda Slott, Stockholm