Norfolk horse charity launches disease survey

Redwings' Stacey Harvey with Cracker

Redwings' Stacey Harvey with Cracker - Credit: Archant

A Norfolk horse charity which battled a dangerous disease outbreak that affected two dozen animals it cares for has launched a survey to help tackle further incidents of it.

Redwings Horse Sanctuary has set up the strangles survey to understand horse owner's perception of the disease, which affects the upper respiratory tract of equines, and how it can be better tackled.

The charity acted in the wake of an eight-month outbreak last year, which – at its height – saw 24 horses affected.

In February 2015 cases of strangles were reported at Redwings' Piggots Farm site at Tasburgh in south Norfolk, leading to restriction at its other Norfolk sites, including its headquarters at Hapton.

The eight-month experience of tackling the outbreak, which cost the charity £4,000 a week, has led to Redwings setting up its strangles survey and the Twitter campaign #SpeakOutOnStrangles


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Redwings has teamed up with Animal Health Trust and the University of Liverpool to set up the online survey.

Andie Vilela, Redwings' education and campaign manager, said: 'We're all talking about strangles in tack rooms or in social media circles, but let's have an open conversation about it.

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'Horse owners can tell us of their experiences and thoughts on improving how strangles is dealt with by completing our survey and help us make combating the disease a reality.

'We are interested in hearing from horse owners regardless of their experience of strangles.

'Every respondent is incredibly important to us, so everyone who completes the survey will receive a free healthy treat for their horse or pony.

'They will also receive a 15pc discount on purchases of Safe4 disinfectant, which is proven to be effective against the strangles bacteria.'

Last year's outbreak was the first at Redwings for 23 years.

Dr Claire Scantlebury, research fellow at the University of Liverpool, said: 'We hope to capture the practical experiences and views of horse owners, so that we can shed light on how owners, vets, and the equine industry can work together to better control strangles in the future.'

The survey is at www.redwings.org.uk/strangles-survey

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