Cases of strangles horse disease at licensed riding establishment

The council are liaising with a licensed riding establishment, Highlands Unbridled, Fendom, Tain, following notification of cases of the strangles horse disease at the business.

Officers from the Highland Council’s environmental health team are liaising with the business to ensure appropriate disease control and biosecurity steps are being taken. Our officers are in contact with various organisations including the Government’s Animal and Plant Health Agency; Scottish SPCA, British Horse Society and veterinary practices to ensure that all necessary procedures are being undertaken to contain the disease.

Strangles is a highly contagious and debilitating disease that affects all ages and breeds of horse worldwide. Caused by a bacterial infection, it is spread by both direct and indirect contact. This means it can be transmitted directly from horse to horse or even transferred by people, and equipment such as grooming kit. Outbreaks occur every year in Scotland.  

The Council have received information from other business and horse owners in the Highlands on further suspected strangles cases and advise all horse owners to follow the precautionary advice on strangles provided by British Horse Society.  Horse yard operators are also recommended to consider the Premium Assured Strangles Scheme initiative launched by SAC Consulting Veterinary Services (a division of SRUC) and supported by The British Horse Society (BHS).

The licensed premises in Tain have closed their yard and the manager is implementing the BHS code on strangles as advised by their vet. Officers are liaising with the business to ensure that appropriate controls are being taken regarding their trail riding activities. As with any licensed riding establishment, the Council will take appropriate action if they are not in compliance with their licence conditions. It should be noted however, that the Council do not have powers to suspend a licence under the current riding establishments Acts. The Council  are seeking improvements to the legislation.

23 Aug 2016
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