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Glanders vs. Strangle — What's the Difference?

By Fiza Rafique & Urooj Arif — Updated on May 9, 2024
Glanders is a bacterial infection affecting horses and other animals, while strangles is a contagious disease in horses caused by a different bacterium.
Glanders vs. Strangle — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Glanders and Strangle


Key Differences

Glanders is caused by the bacterium Burkholderia mallei and primarily affects horses, mules, and donkeys, potentially transmitting to humans. Strangles, on the other hand, is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi and is known for its highly contagious nature among horses, characterized by severe throat infections and swelling. This difference in causative agents highlights the varied bacterial origins and targeted treatments for each disease.
While glanders can affect various organs and produce ulcers and nodules throughout the body, strangles typically manifests with swollen lymph nodes around the head and neck, leading to breathing difficulties. This contrast in symptoms underscores the systemic impact of glanders versus the more localized impact of strangles.
Glanders is known for its potential to cause chronic and fatal infections, making it a serious concern for biosecurity, especially since it can infect humans. Strangles, while extremely contagious among horses, does not typically infect humans, which delineates a clear difference in their zoonotic potential.
In terms of diagnosis, glanders requires careful laboratory testing due to its rare nature and severe implications, including potential use as a bioweapon. Strangles, however, can often be diagnosed based on clinical signs and confirmed with bacterial culture, reflecting its common occurrence and distinct symptomatology.
Regarding treatment, glanders has a poor prognosis and requires aggressive antibiotic therapy and strict isolation measures to prevent spread. Strangles, although challenging to manage due to its infectiousness, typically resolves with supportive care and sometimes antibiotic treatment, highlighting differing approaches based on disease severity and spread.

Comparison Chart

Causative Agent

Burkholderia mallei bacterium.
Streptococcus equi bacterium.

Common Hosts

Horses, mules, donkeys, occasionally humans.
Primarily horses.


Ulcers, nodules, systemic infection.
Swollen lymph nodes, difficulty breathing.

Zoonotic Risk

Can infect humans, serious biosecurity concern.
Primarily affects horses, not zoonotic.


Requires laboratory testing, biosecurity measures.
Diagnosed by clinical signs, confirmed by culture.


Aggressive antibiotics, isolation.
Supportive care, antibiotics if necessary.

Compare with Definitions


Characterized by chronic infections with ulcers and nodules.
The diagnosis of glanders was confirmed after identifying nodules in the lungs.


A highly contagious equine disease characterized by swollen lymph nodes.
The outbreak of strangles at the farm caused severe breathing issues in several horses.


A rare bacterial disease affecting horses and potentially humans.
Veterinarians tested the sick horse for glanders due to its severe symptoms.


Caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi.
Strangles in horses is due to an infection with Streptococcus equi.


Known for its potential to be used as a bioweapon.
Due to its severity, glanders has been studied as a potential bioweapon.


Often diagnosed by visible clinical signs.
The vet diagnosed strangles based on the swollen lymph nodes and fever.


Requires strict isolation and treatment protocols.
The infected animals were isolated to prevent the spread of glanders.


Manifests as throat swelling and difficulty breathing.
The young colt developed strangles and had significant throat swelling.


Caused by the bacterium Burkholderia mallei.
Glanders, caused by Burkholderia mallei, is a critical concern in biosecurity.


Typically treated with supportive care.
Treatment for strangles usually involves supportive care and monitoring.


Glanders is a contagious zoonotic infectious disease that occurs primarily in horses, mules, and donkeys. It can be contracted by other animals, such as dogs, cats, pigs, goats, and humans.


To kill by squeezing the throat so as to choke or suffocate; throttle.


A contagious, usually fatal disease of horses and other equids, caused by the bacterium Burkholderia mallei and characterized by swollen lymph nodes, nasal discharge, and ulcers of the respiratory tract and skin. The disease is communicable to other mammals, including humans.


To cut off the oxygen supply of; smother.


An infectious disease of horses, mules and donkeys caused by the bacterium Burkholderia, one species of which may be transmitted to humans.


To suppress, repress, or stifle
Strangle a scream.


A highly contagious and very destructive disease of horses, asses, mules, etc., characterized by a constant discharge of sticky matter from the nose, and an enlargement and induration of the glands beneath and within the lower jaw. It may transmitted to dogs, goats, sheep, and to human beings.


To inhibit the growth or action of; restrict
"That artist is strangled who is forced to deal with human beings solely in social terms" (James Baldwin).


A destructive and contagious bacterial disease of horses that can be transmitted to humans


To become strangled.


To die from suffocation or strangulation; choke.


(transitive) To kill someone by squeezing the throat so as to cut off the oxygen supply; to choke, suffocate or throttle.
He strangled his wife and dissolved the body in acid.


(transitive) To stifle or suppress.
She strangled a scream.


(intransitive) To be killed by strangulation, or become strangled.
The cat slipped from the branch and strangled on its bell-collar.


(intransitive) To be stifled, choked, or suffocated in any manner.


(finance) A trading strategy using options, constructed through taking equal positions in a put and a call with different strike prices, such that there is a payoff if the underlying asset's value moves beyond the range of the two strike prices.


To compress the windpipe of (a person or animal) until death results from stoppage of respiration; to choke to death by compressing the throat, as with the hand or a rope.
Our Saxon ancestors compelled the adulteress to strangle herself.


To stifle, choke, or suffocate in any manner.
Shall I not then be stifled in the vault, . . . And there die strangled ere my Romeo comes?


To hinder from appearance; to stifle; to suppress.


To be strangled, or suffocated.


Kill by squeezing the throat of so as to cut off the air;
He tried to strangle his opponent
A man in Boston has been strangling several dozen prostitutes


Conceal or hide;
Smother a yawn
Muffle one's anger
Strangle a yawn


Die from strangulation


Prevent the progress or free movement of;
He was hampered in his efforts by the bad weather
The imperilist nation wanted to strangle the free trade between the two small countries


Constrict (someone's) throat and keep from breathing


Struggle for breath; have insufficient oxygen intake;
He swallowed a fishbone and gagged

Common Curiosities

How do glanders and strangles differ in their transmission?

Glanders can be transmitted through direct contact with infected animals or materials, whereas strangles is highly contagious among horses through close contact.

What are the zoonotic implications of glanders?

Glanders can infect humans and is considered a serious biosecurity threat due to its severity and potential as a bioweapon.

What is strangles?

Strangles is a highly contagious disease in horses caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi, characterized by swollen lymph nodes and breathing difficulties.

What are the long-term effects of strangles on a horse?

While many horses recover completely from strangles, some may become carriers of the bacterium, posing a risk of future outbreaks.

How can strangles affect the overall health of a horse?

Strangles can lead to severe complications such as bastard strangles, which involves the spread of infection to other parts of the body.

Are there vaccines available for glanders and strangles?

There is no vaccine for glanders, but vaccines are available for strangles to help prevent the disease.

What biosecurity measures are recommended during an outbreak of strangles?

During a strangles outbreak, recommended biosecurity measures include quarantine of infected and newly introduced horses, disinfection of equipment, and avoiding contact between healthy and infected horses.

What treatment options are available for glanders and strangles?

Glanders requires aggressive antibiotic treatment and strict isolation, while strangles typically responds well to supportive care and may require antibiotics.

How is strangles managed in a herd of horses?

Managing strangles involves isolating infected animals, implementing strict biosecurity measures, and possibly vaccinating at-risk populations.

What is glanders?

Glanders is a bacterial infection primarily affecting horses but can also infect humans, caused by Burkholderia mallei.

Can humans contract strangles?

No, strangles is generally not zoonotic and does not infect humans.

How are glanders and strangles diagnosed?

Glanders requires sophisticated laboratory testing due to its rarity and severity, while strangles can often be diagnosed based on clinical signs and confirmed with a bacterial culture.

What are the typical symptoms of glanders in horses?

Symptoms of glanders include the formation of nodules and ulcers, chronic cough, and general systemic infection.

What preventive measures can be taken against glanders?

Preventive measures for glanders include biosecurity protocols, regular health checks, and isolation of infected animals.

How can the spread of glanders be controlled in a stable?

Controlling the spread of glanders involves strict quarantine measures, proper disposal of contaminated materials, and thorough cleaning and disinfection of the environment.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Fiza Rafique
Fiza Rafique is a skilled content writer at, where she meticulously refines and enhances written pieces. Drawing from her vast editorial expertise, Fiza ensures clarity, accuracy, and precision in every article. Passionate about language, she continually seeks to elevate the quality of content for readers worldwide.
Co-written by
Urooj Arif
Urooj is a skilled content writer at Ask Difference, known for her exceptional ability to simplify complex topics into engaging and informative content. With a passion for research and a flair for clear, concise writing, she consistently delivers articles that resonate with our diverse audience.

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