Further to our earlier post and the British Horseracing Authority’s decision to cancel all racing from today until at least 13th February due to an outbreak of equine influenza ('flu), the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is closely monitoring the situation. Veterinary experts have advised that it is not necessary to cancel other equine events at this time, but the BEF will issue a further update once the full extent of the outbreak is known.
We recommend that if your horses have not received a vaccine for flu in the last 6 months, a booster should be given now. Horses that have never been vaccinated, or where this has lapsed, should begin a vaccine course as soon as possible.
This is particularly important for horses who may be more at risk through travel to competition and training venues, moving to a new yard, or who may have been in contact with potentially infected horses.
The BEF advises that horse owners follow recommended guidelines on how to detect and prevent the spread of this infectious disease:
- Look out for signs of disease which can include: high temperature, cough, snotty nose, enlarged glands (under the lower jaw), swollen or sore eyes, depression, loss of appetite and swelling in the lower legs. If you see any of these signs, isolate the horse and call your vet immediately.
- It is essential that any horses showing signs of possible equine 'flu, or horses that might have been in contact with potentially infected horses, do not travel to competitions or other events where there will be groups of horses. If your horse has been in contact with an infected horse we suggest that you should take immediate veterinary advice.
- The BEF advises that horses are vaccinated with a booster for equine 'flu with a vaccine that contains the Florida Clade 1. There are two such vaccines currently licensed in the UK, ProteqFlu and Equilis Prequenza. If your horse is currently vaccinated, but it has been longer than 6 months since the last vaccination, we recommend that you discuss a booster with your veterinary surgeon.
The BEF also has guidance on its website regarding equine infectious diseases and is urging owners to take the necessary precautions to avoid their horses becoming infected.
Follow @equiflunet, or visit www.equiflunet.org.uk. For equine biosecurity information, visit the BEF website.
Contact us if you need to book a booster vaccination, or your horse or pony needs to commence a vaccine course.
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