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UK Equine influenza outbreak

8 May 2019


Latest news on the equine flu situation - 8 May 2019 

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) continues to closely monitor the equine flu outbreak – there were 11 further cases in April as reported by the Animal Health Trust.

The BEF continues to urge all owners to ensure that their vaccination records are up to date to help prevent the spread of equine flu. The BEF strongly recommends that if it has been more than six months since the last vaccination, that owners discuss a booster with their veterinary surgeon.

It is also vital that unvaccinated horses do not mix with other equines due to the increased risk of such an infectious disease spreading.

BEF recommendations are based on advice from experts in equine flu and epidemiology with experience in managing previous outbreaks. The BEF will continue to review our recommendations based on scientific advice.

Latest news on the equine flu situation - 15 February 2019 

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) notes the latest update (14.02.19) from the Animal Health Trust of more positive tests for equine flu in Worcestershire, central Scotland, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. For the latest information follow @equiflunet on Twitter.

The BEF is urging all competition and training event organisers to check the equine ID passports of all horses attending their event to ensure that they comply with vaccination rules. We remind all participants to check the requirements of venues before they set out.

The BEF continues to urge all owners to be vigilant for the symptoms of equine flu and to alert their vet if they think their horses are showing signs. 

All owners MUST ensure their vaccination records are up to date, and if it has been longer than 6 months since the last vaccination, we strongly recommend discussing a booster with their veterinary surgeon.

We also remind owners that any contact with recently imported horses represents an increased risk so owners should follow veterinary advice by isolating any recently imported horse for a period of at least 21 days. 

Latest from BEF - 15.02.19

Latest news on the equine flu situation - 11 February 2019 

Further to the announcement by the British Horse Racing Authority that horseracing will continue to be suspended until Wednesday February 13th, the British Equestrian Federation confirm that their veterinary advice remains that it is not necessary to cancel other equine events at this time subject to local disease status and local veterinary advice. If in doubt, consult your local vet.

If attending any events, clinics or shows it is vital to remain extra vigilant and be sensible in taking hygiene precautions. We strongly urge all organisers to ensure passports are being checked for up to date flu vaccinations where events are taking place. Unfortunately, we have heard reports of many events and gatherings of horses which are taking place but no checks, or spot checks, of vaccinations are being completed.

The BEF urges all owners to be vigilant and follow recommended guidelines set out here as a precaution. We recommend owners seek local veterinary advice to resolve any queries, and ensure that all vaccinations are up to date.

The BEF has also produced a Q&A giving the latest advice on how owners can keep their horses safe.

Latest From BEF - 11.02.19

Advice for horse owners

Gemma Stanford, Director of Welfare for The British Horse Society said:

“We are aware of today’s news regarding the Equine Influenza outbreaks and we urge all owners to be extra vigilant of the clinical signs of the virus.

 “Clinical signs of influenza include:

  • The sudden onset of a dry, harsh cough which can continue for two to three weeks and potentially persist for longer
  • A raised temperature which lasts around 7 - 10 days 
  • A nasal discharge that is initially clear but becomes thick and purulent
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy

“Diseases such as equine influenza are debilitating and can have serious implications for horses, especially young foals, elderly animals or those with pre-existing respiratory disorders.

“You should contact your vet immediately if you have any concerns.”

Advice for those riding out or carriage driving

The British Horseracing Authority has taken the decision to cancel racing at all British racecourses today Thursday 7th February, following three confirmed Equine Influenza positives from vaccinated horses in an active racing yard.

All riders and carriage drivers need to be extra vigilant to prevent the spread of the disease further.

Before riding out please assess where you plan to ride or carriage drive and try to avoid riding close to other horses. Equine influenza is an airborne disease and can easily be spread.

When exercising your horse, you are strongly advised not to use routes which pass close to other horses, and to try to use alternative routes where possible. Exercising at quiet times of the day or planning locally with fellow riders to avoid contact and passing will help reduce the likelihood of spreading the disease. This also applies to places you travel to ride or drive.

Read here for more information on the signs of Equine Influenza:

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