Merial Equine Health have teamed up with the Animal Heath Trust (AHT) to run an Equine Flu Awareness Month to help create a greater awareness of this disease and highlight the importance of vaccinating against it.
Equine flu is an infectious disease affecting the upper respiratory tract of horses. It is prevalent in the UK with frequent outbreaks recorded over the last few years.
A horse with flu needs complete rest and isolation, often putting them out of action for weeks. Crucially, outbreaks can affect competitions of all levels potentially resulting in the cancellation of events in order to control the spread of disease.
Clinical signs usually appear within 1–5 days of exposure and can last for 3–6 weeks. They can include a high temperature, cough, nasal discharge, enlarged glands under the lower jaw, conjunctivitis, depression, loss of appetite and filling of the lower limbs.
If your horse shows any of these clinical signs consult the practice immediately, even if they have been vaccinated. This will allow appropriate tests to be carried out to determine the cause, and ensure that a suitable treatment plan is put in place. Remember to keep the horse isolated from others during this time as flu is highly infectious.
The equine flu virus evolves and changes constantly and it is important that its development is monitored in order to ensure vaccines protect against the circulating strains. Recent outbreaks in the UK are known to be of a strain called Florida Clade 2 (a sublineage of H3N8).1 Current guidelines from the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) recommend that vaccines should contain both Clade 1 and Clade 2 strains of the Florida sublineage.2
Running for the month of April only, The Arundel Equine Hospital will be working with Merial Equine Health to offer the 'Back on Track' vaccine amnesty. This offer entitles the owner of a horse or pony over 12 months of age and not yet to have been vaccinated against equine influenza or is overdue a booster, to a free second dose of ProteqFlu® or ProteqFlu-TE® vaccine given as part of a primary course. The below terms and conditions apply to this offer, please read to check that your horse or pony is eligible.
1. The Vaccination Back on Track initiative allows (eligible) horses to receive a discounted primary vaccination course.
2. The offer is only open to horses that are over 12 months of age and have not yet been vaccinated against equine influenza or are overdue a booster.
3. In order for horse owners to qualify for the Vaccination Back on Track initiative, the initial vaccination must be during the April 2016.
4. The second vaccination must be completed 4-6 weeks after the first vaccination.
5. Please note the offer does not include the third dose of ProteqFlu/ProteqFlu-Te vaccine.
6. Any visit fee must be borne by the horse owner.
If you would like to arrange a visit to start the vaccination course please call reception on 01903 883050, and remember if you bring your horse or pony to the hospital to receive the vaccination you will save on a call out fee too!