Check the AHT’s equiflunet web pages for updates and further information.
Equine flu is always present in the UK. We currently appear to be seeing flu in some horses who have been vaccinated as well as in unvaccinated horses and this means that we should all be taking some extra precautions “just in case”.
• The more you do to reduce the risk of spreading any contagious disease between horses the better… but doing what you reasonably can is better than doing nothing.
• Vaccinated horses are likely to be less severely affected by flu and are likely to get better more quickly than unvaccinated horses.
• Unvaccinated horses present a risk not just to themselves but to all the horses around them.
At Your Yard
• Keep a look out for the signs of flu – coughing, snotty nose, loss of appetite, lethargy – and call your vet if you think any horses are showing signs.
• If your horses are at a higher risk (ie they haven’t been vaccinated or there is an outbreak of flu at a neighbouring yard) then you could also look out for raised temperatures (>38.5°c)
• Ask your vet to vaccinate your horse if it has not been vaccinated before or if its last booster vaccination was more than 6 months ago. It is recommended that the vaccine used reflects the virus type currently being seen in the outbreak (Florida Clade 1)
• You should plan to give your horse a few quiet days after vaccination (immunity steadily increases over 7-10 days following vaccination)
• If your horse is at higher risk you should discuss with you vet whether more frequent boosters would be appropriate.
Visitors to Your Yard
• Visitors such as vets, farriers, dental technicians, saddle fitters, physios etc should take special precautions as they could transmit disease between horses and between yards.
• Before they arrive, visitors should call to ask whether there are any sick horses on the yard. If any horses are showing signs that might be flu or if the disease has been confirmed then you should postpone all but essential visits.
• Even if all your horses appear fine your visitors should clean their hands (ideally with an alcohol based antimicrobial gel type product), clean their tools (especially dental technicians) and check their clothing for obvious contamination (changing it if required).
• If your visitors’ vehicles have not been in contact with your horses then there is no requirement for the vehicle to be washed down.
• As good practice you should keep a record of all visitors to the yard.
Taking Your Horse to a Competition or Other Venue
• Do not take your horse anywhere if there are sick horses on your yard
• Check that the venue is happy to have you and that there are no sick horses reported by the venue.
• Check that the venue has a policy that visiting / kept horses are vaccinated.
• Whilst at the venue, keep your horse(s) out of contact with other horses and avoid sharing of buckets or any other equipment
• When you return you should thoroughly clean your lorry or trailer (ideally not next to your horses)
Deliveries to your yard
• Try to keep feed, forage or other delivery vehicles and drivers separate from the horses
Sending Equipment away
• If you are sending tack or clippers for repair then you should clean them first and the repairer should routinely wipe them over with an antimicrobial product before returning them. Rugs can be sent for washing as normal (with the worst of the muck cleared off first)