Events & Newsletters

Strangles outbreak notification - Guidelines for horse owners from Penbode Equine vets

We have received phone calls from concerned horse owners wanting to discuss the facts about ‘Strangles’.  Although I am sure you will respect that we are unable to breach client confidentiality with regards to specific incidences, we want to do our best to give good advice. We hope that the following notes may be of assistance.  If you have any further questions please call Penbode Equine vets or EqWest Equine vets on 01409 255549 / 01822 613838 / 01837 506070.

What is the causing agent of ‘Strangles’?
A bacteria called Streptococcus equi equi.

What is the incubation period?
This is variable. Typically this is 2-21 days.

How is it transmitted?
Typically this is by contact with nasal discharges or with material from burst abscesses. This can be by direct nose to nose contact of horses, or via water troughs or mangers. It is also easily spread by contaminated clothing and utensils.

Up to 10% of previously infected horses can be ‘silent carriers’: they shed contagious bacteria into the environment without actually showing any clinical signs of disease.

What are the clinical signs?
The classical signs are an increased rectal temperature (greater than 38.5 degrees C), loss of appetite, depression and cough. As the infection progresses, a thick creamy nasal discharge can develop, as well as pain, swelling and abscess formation of the lymph nodes in the jaw (sub-mandibular) or throat (parotid) areas. Young animals are most susceptible.

Milder signs such as short term fever, dullness, loss of appetite and mild nasal discharge are increasingly common and may also be evidence of a previous or ongoing infection.

On rare occasions Strangles can lead to life-threatening conditions such as a spread of bacteria in the blood stream (‘Bastard’ strangles), or inflammation of the blood vessels with swelling (oedema) and/ or small areas of bleeding in the limbs, sheath, gums and eyes.


How is it diagnosed?

There are several methods for detecting the bacteria:

  • nasopharyngeal (deep throat) swabs,

  • Swabs of material from abscesses,

  • Collection of a sample from the guttural pouches with an endoscope (guttural pouch lavage).


Blood tests can also be used to detect raised or rising antibodies.


It is important to note some of these tests are better than others and that none are 100% accurate, some giving false negative results. Depending on the stage of the disease and on the type of clinical sign shown, several different tests may occasionally need to be run over a few days in order to get an accurate diagnosis.

What is the treatment?

This is based around nursing care and anti-inflammatory medication.

Hot packs can encourage abscess bursting and drainage. Cleaning and flushing of ruptured abscesses will speed the resolution.
Antibiotic treatment may be appropriate in some but not all cases.


Following recovery, a guttural pouch lavage should be performed to confirm complete recovery, as up to 10% of apparently recovered horses can continue carrying and shedding this bacteria silently for months or years.

What is the prevention?
Strict biosecurity policies:

  • Quarantine new horses for three weeks prior to entry to the main yard.
  • Discuss with your vet the value of ensuring that new horses have a blood test in the week preceding entry into the main yard.
  • Discuss with your vet the value of routine screening blood tests of horses already on the yard to identify carriers.

What do you do if an outbreak is confirmed or strongly suspected?

·         Prevent horses leaving or entering the yard until you have spoken to your vet.  

  • alert all visitors to the yard.

·         Speak to your vet to help institute a barrier nursing and isolation protocol for your yard.

·          If unclear, investigate the source of infection.


·       Refer to HBLB Strangles guidelines in the Codes of Practice ( ) and Strategy To Eradicate and Prevent Strangles (STEPS at .

Although there is a vaccine available in the UK, it should not be used in the face of an outbreak. It can however be used as part of strangles prevention strategy. If you are interested, we recommend a yard risk assessment be performed at your yard.


If you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact Penbode Equine vets or EqWest Equine vets, Holsworthy 01409 255549 / Okehampton 01837 506070 / Tavistock 01822 613838,

New venture – same friendly, high quality, good value, equine only care

We pleased to announce our news of a new exciting development which will enable us to enhance the care that we provide you and your horse.

Penbode Equine vets and EqWest Equine Veterinary Clinic have both provided an equine only service in your area for many years. Penbode is one of the most established practices in the UK with over 175 years of history. EqWest was the first equine only practice in Devon and Cornwall. We are all horse people, having owned and ridden horses, and have a shared passion for high quality veterinary care for horses. With this in mind, Jeremy Hyde has chosen Penbode Equine vets to be the practice to take the legacy of EqWest forward. David Rowlands, Penbode Equine vets director, welcomes EqWest to become a branch of Penbode. Jeremy, Kieran, Hermione and the team would like to thank their loyal clients for their ongoing support and friendship and look forward to continuing to work with you.

We are all committed to maintaining the same personal service that you are used to.  You will be able to see the same vets, and speak to the same receptionists and nurses. We will look to pass on the benefits of economies of scale as we strive to provide friendly, high quality, value for money equine only care.

  • FREE VISITS for equine dentistry - other veterinary work can be performed at the same time*

  •  20% OFF FLU +/- TETANUS VACCINATIONS when performed at the same time as dentistry*

  • HALF PRICE AREA DAYS* (* Terms and conditions apply)

The Penbode Equine branches at Holsworthy and Okehampton, and the EqWest branch at Lamerton will operate as always. Penbode also has branches in Camelford, Bude/Stratton and Bradworthy where medicines can be collected. We offer 10% discount if medicines are paid for at the time of collection at ALL branches.

Our equine only veterinary team is the same as before:

 David Rowlands, Gemma Stokes, Nathalie van Heesewijk, Sophie Fulton

Jeremy Hyde, Kieran O’Brien, Hermione Finch

Both Penbode Equine and EqWest clients will be familiar with Hermione who has lived and worked in the area for many years. There will be EqWest and Penbode Equine vets on call at night and weekends, ensuring you receive great emergency cover, 365 days a year 24 hours a day.

Between us we have over 100 years of equine veterinary experience and provide a complete service in equine care. All our vets are equine only and each has their own areas of particular interest and expertise. Working together will enable us to increase the level of care available to you and your horse.

If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to call us via your usual branch.

David Rowlands    Tel: 01409 255 549 or 01837 506 070                           Jeremy Hyde Tel: 01822 613 838   

FREE visit with Penbode Equine Dentistry

Penbode Equine Dentistry is pleased to offer FREE visits for dental work*. Our FREE visit offer includes other vet work if done at the same time.

Regular dental checks are extremely important to dental health. This applies as much to your horse as it does to you. Penbode Equine Dentistry provides fully mobile complete dental care, and now you can save money with FREE visit fees.

Being qualified equine vets, Penbode Equine Dentistry provides the additional bonus of being able to sedate horses when required and to legally perform all procedures such as wolf teeth and cheek teeth extractions and treating infection of the teeth roots, in a safe and stress free manner with the aid of pain relief and antibiotics.

Only £55/mouth inc VAT, alongside FREE visit fees.

If needed, using our high quality portable digital X-ray machine, X- rays can be taken ‘stable side’ to aid in diagnosing conditions such as infection of the teeth roots of horse fractures or sinusitis.

You can save even more with our discount offers.


Only £50/mouth inc VAT for 2 horses at the same time

Only £45/mouth inc VAT for 3 or more horses at the same time

phone:  01409255549 or 01837506070 to book an appointment


Click on for more details

* Terms and conditions apply.


Penbode Equine Autumn 2014 newsletter

In this Penbode Equine newsletter you will find:

The chance to win an iPad

Great money savings offers, such as:

20% off flu and/or tetanus vaccinations when your horse's teeth are rasped at the same time

Better than half price Senior Horse Health checks

Half price vaccination and dental visits

FREE visit when 3 or more horses' teeth are rasped at the same time

FREE lab fees for Cushing's disease blood tests, NOW including re-tests!

Our 10% off medicines money saving offer

Exciting and informative talks, including:

'Horses Inside Out' course (Places are very limited, as this is a small group course; please book early to avoid disappointment)

Best regards,

The Penbode Equine Team

Sycamore seeds causing equine Atypical Myopathy – Information for horse owners

Penbode Equine: Equine Atypical Myopathy - What is it?

We have had enquiries from concerned clients regarding cases of Equine Atypical Myopathy in our area. This disease is often fatal, however Penbode Equine has successfully treated the condition. Typical occurrence involves horses ingesting hypoglycin A, a toxin found in sycamore seeds or some ornamental plants. This toxin results in damage to the heart, lungs and postural muscles. In our experience early diagnosis combined with prompt treatment provides your horse with the best chance of recovery. Cases commonly occur in the autumn, when there are most sycamore seeds on the ground and grass may be limited.

Can it be treated?

Prompt treatment is essential. Intensive intravenous fluid administration, pain-killers and anti-oxidants are often administered. Although we have had success, unfortunately, horses often deteriorate rapidly resulting in euthanasia on humane grounds.

What are the clinical signs?

These can resemble those of a horse ‘tying up’ or ‘colicing’. Signs include: weakness, muscle trembling, lethargy, pain, recumbency (lying down), discoloured urine and difficulty when breathing and swallowing.

How can I prevent my horse from suffering with Atypical Myopathy?

If you have any doubts or concerns then please call Penbode Equine immediately on 01409 255549 or 01837 506070. We have successfully treated this condition.

The most effective way to minimise risk to your horse is to reduce ingestion of sycamore seeds. This can be done by; ensuring that they are not grazing in areas where there are sycamore trees dropping seeds on the ground nearby (i.e. fence off areas around sycamore trees), by picking up seeds from the ground, supplying extra hay when pasture is poor, limiting stocking density and reducing turnout time.

If you have any further questions do not hesitate to contact Penbode Equine vets, Holsworthy 01409 255549 / Okehampton 01837 506070 or visit

Horse vets serving Holsworthy, Okehampton, Tavistock, Launceston, Bude / Stratton, Camelford / Bodmin and Bradworthy
British Equestrian Federation ABVA The Pony Club FEI Duchy College XL Vets Holsworthy Riding Club Safer Horse Rescues Ivybridge Equestrian Ivybridge Equestrian