Rapid diagnosis of strangles to improve horse health

University of the Sunshine Coast

  • Project code: PRO-015486

  • Project stage: Current

  • Project start date: Monday, September 19, 2022

  • Project completion date: Friday, January 19, 2024

  • Journal Articles From Project: Development and evaluation of rapid isothermal assay for detection of strangles Australian Veterinary Journal (Issue: future on 4/12/2023)

  • National Priority: HOR-Thoroughbred diseases and parasites


Infectious diseases cause significant equine illness and death, seriously impacting the productivity of Australia’s Thoroughbred breeding industry.  A well-known example of such disease is strangles, caused by the Streptococcus equi subsp. Equi. The resulting morbidity and mortality cause up to $4 million in damage to the Australian Thoroughbred industry annually. 
Diagnosis of strangles in Australia is based on isolation of the organism from clinical samples and/or molecular assays performed in diagnostic laboratories using specialised equipment and techniques. Both assays are laborious, costly and result in considerable delay for reporting of results. Recently, isothermal assays have been developed and applied as a method for rapid detection of various equine pathogens, including Hendra virus, Chlamydia and equine herpes virus (isothermal assays developed by Dr Jelocnik). These assays can be used at the point-of-care (POC) using portable equipment (such as real-time fluorometers) and crudely processed samples. There is now an opportunity to translate these assays to strangles in Australia. 
Rapid isothermal assays for strangles have been proposed overseas; however, they have been not applied at the POC and are not commonly used in Australia. This project focuses on the development, validation and evaluation of rapid isothermal assays for strangles for its application and implementation at the POC.  Dr Jelocnik and team have a track record of taking isothermal assays from the design phase through to practical on-farm or in-clinic implementation. Rapid POC detection of strangles would reduce the spread of infection and inform on appropriate disease management. 


Thoroughbred Horses

Research Organisation

University of the Sunshine Coast