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Cases of equine influenza (EI or equine 'flu) are on the rise across the UK. Cases have been confirmed in Essex, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Suffolk. With the recent confirmation of a case in Yorkshire we all need to be aware of this highly contagious disease.
There have been outbreaks reported in the UK, Ireland, France, Belgium and Germany. Cases have occurred in both vaccinated and unvaccinated horses and all infections so far classified have been associated with a strain of the virus not commonly isolated in Europe since 2009.
EI is a highly contagious viral infection and is transferred from one infected horse to another via discharge and secretions from the respiratory tract. It It is also carried through the air when a horse coughs or sneezes. Please look out for clinical signs of ‘flu in your horse. Symptoms can vary in severity and can include any of the following:
cough, nasal discharge, high temperature, poor appetite, lethargy.
If ‘flu is suspected we can take a nasal swab and a blood sample from the horse. Quick diagnosis is very important in ensuring that we provide the correct supportive treatment for the horse and in limiting the spread of disease.
Please try to encourage vaccination of all horses and check that your horse's influenza vaccinations are up to date. You can consider completing a booster vaccination early if it is due soon.
Hambleton Equine Clinic are currently offering a vaccine amnesty where if you start your vaccination programme in February or March you will get your 3rd vaccination free.
If you have any queries or concerns please do not hesitate to contact us on 01642 723132
Further information about equine 'flu is available on the Animal Health Trust website.