Racing was shut down today as a precautionary measure to restrict the movement of thoroughbred race horses and prevent any further spread of the equine influenza (flu) virus within the racing community.
This is a standard contingency in the event of an infectious disease within UK racing, in order to assess the scale and severity of the outbreak. Results of tests over the next 24 hours will help the industry decide on any further action.
It is not currently being recommended that other, non-racing, equine events are cancelled but this might change depending on how the disease develops.
BEVA is encouraging vets and horse owners be vigilant. Signs of flu may be mild and can include coughing, nasal discharge, a high temperature, swollen glands (under the lower jaw), depression, and loss of appetite. Affected horses often don’t show all of these signs and infection can easily be missed.
If these signs appear then owners should isolate the horse and call their vet immediately.
It is essential that horses showing any of these clinical signs, and horses that have been in recent contact with horses showing these signs, do not travel to competitions or other events where there will be groups of horses.
BEVA suggests that owners discuss with their vet whether to vaccinate with a booster at this time. There is evidence that, under a heightened risk, early boosters can be beneficial. Based on the virus type that has been identified so far, the advice is that vaccines that contain the Florida Clade 1 serotype are likely to be most appropriate.
www.equiflunet.org.uk and follow @equiflunet for the lastest updates on Twitter
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