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Equine Influenza update

7th February 2019

Over the last two months there have been several outbreaks of Equine Influenza reported in the UK, Ireland, France, Belgium and Germany. Cases have occurred in both vaccinated and unvaccinated horses, although the disease in vaccinated horses has been mild.

In the UK, cases have been confirmed in Essex, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Suffolk and Yorkshire. In one of these outbreaks, vaccinated horses have been affected, but the other outbreaks have occurred in unvaccinated animals.

Equine Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that is spread by coughing and sneezing. Clinical signs of Equine Influenza include fever (up to 106°F [41°C]), nasal discharge, have a dry, hacking cough, depression, loss of appetite and weakness. If your horse is showing any symptoms of respiratory disease, please contact your vet. There is no known human health risk associated with the virus.

Although vaccination does not always completely prevent infection of an individual horse, it usually results in a much milder disease and reduces the risk of the horse spreading the disease to others. It is important, therefore that as many horses as possible are kept up-to-date with their Equine Influenza vaccinations.

To protect your own horses and to minimise the risk of an epidemic of Equine Influenza, we recommend that all unvaccinated or lapsed horses are vaccinated as soon as possible. In addition, horses that have not been vaccinated within the last six months should receive a booster vaccination.

If your horses are going to shows or events, you should monitor them closely on arrival back to yard (eg monitor rectal temperatures).

If you have any concerns or questions, please contact your vet.

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