Influenza News

Equine Influenza Outbreak: February 2019

As you are probably aware there is currently an equine flu outbreak occurring in the UK. At the moment 7 yards have confirmed disease and further testing is underway. NO yards in Sussex, Kent or Surrey have been confirmed as affected yet. 

Flu can affect horses of all ages. 

Clinical signs include lethargy, coughing, nasal discharge and fever (temperatures over 38.5 degrees celsius). The disease usually resolves within 2-3 weeks with rest and supportive care in most cases but can have complications. 

The virus is highly contagious and spreads rapidly between horses via nasal secretions and breathing. People can also spread the disease via contaminated clothing or equipment so hygiene is really important. 

To confirm the disease a nasal swab and blood is taken and sent to the Animal Health Trust.

Vaccination is very important to limit the signs of infection and is the most effective tool against a large flu outbreak. Horses who have been fully vaccinated usually have no or only very mild signs. Protection against the flu virus starts to drop 6 months after vaccination so some horses can become susceptible again.  

Sussex Equine Hospital is taking part in a vaccination amnesty month. We use ProteqFlu which contains the relevant strain of flu virus. 

During February, all horses starting or re-starting their vaccination course will receive the 2nd vaccination for FREE

Visit charges still apply. The offer is open to horses that are over 6 moths of age and have not been vaccinated or those that are overdue an annual booster. The first vaccination must be booked  to take place in February 2019.  

Please feel free to discuss with one of our vets if you have any questions 

Further useful information can be found here https://www.aht.org.uk/disease-surveillance/equiflunet/equiflunet-for-horse-owners