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Progress made in the fight against strangles

PROGRESS is being made in producing an effective, live vaccine to combat strangles, according to Andrew Waller, head of bacteriology at the Animal Health Trust.

Describing strangles as "the most contagious disease in the world," Waller told members of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association at yesterday's annual meeting that the clinical signs of a research project he is carrying out were promising.

In addition, he said, the live vaccine strain would be cheap to manufacture and would probably provide immunity for about five years.

Waller is conducting his work with support from various agencies, including the Levy Board and TBA.

He has also developed a new blood test to identify carriers of the disease who otherwise looked perfectly healthy, and reported that this too was working well, and would be particularly useful for testing a new intake of horses on premises.

He said: "We tested 56 newly acquired horses, and using the blood test, indentified seven carriers, who were treated successfully."

With a 24-hour turn-around, the test was quick and easy, Waller said, and could be used to determine the extent of an outbreak.

 

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