Minor, non-fatal complications include:
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Susceptible horses develop strangles within 314 days of exposure. (2) Animals show typical signs of a generalized infectious process (depression, inappetence, and fever of 39°C39.5°C). More typically of strangles, horses develop a nasal discharge (initially mucoid, rapidly thickening and purulent), a soft cough and slight but painful swelling between the mandibles, with swelling of the submandibular lymph node. Horses are often seen positioning their heads low and extended, so as to relieve the throat and lymph node pain.
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With the progression of the disease, abscesses develop in the submandibular (between the jaw bones) and/or retropharyngeal (at the back of the throat) lymph nodes. The lymph nodes become hard and very painful, and may obstruct breathing ("strangles"). The lymph node abscesses will burst (or can be lanced) in 714 days, releasing thick pus heavily contaminated with S. equi. The horse will usually rapidly recover once abscesses have ruptured.
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Both a killed and a live vaccine are available for the control of strangles. The only killed vaccine currently available in Canada is Strepguard by Intervet. Killed vaccines, in general, are administered with an initial series of intramuscular injections followed by an annual booster. The initial series is started at 4 to 6 months of age with a second vaccination 2 to 4 weeks later and then annually. There may be adverse reactions at the injection site (marked pain, even frank abscesses). Some animals have even developed purpura haemorrhagica reddish-purple-coloured spots on the skin and mucous membrane associated with extravasations of blood) associated with the vaccination. The killed vaccines do not provide complete protection against infection because they do not result in the development of local, nasopharyngeal antibodies thought to be important in protection, but they may reduce the severity of clinical illness should it occur.