Equine Flu Outbreak

equine flu outbreak, February 2019

Equine Flu Outbreak

Following British Horseracing’s decision to cancel all racing today (7 February) the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is closely monitoring the situation. Veterinary experts have advised that it is not necessary to cancel other equine events at this time, but we will issue a further update once the full extent of the outbreak is known.

In the meantime, they have recommended that ‘all owners follow the guidelines below as a precaution and ensure that all vaccinations are fully up to date’.

‘If your horse is currently vaccinated, we recommend a booster if it has been longer than 6 months since your horse’s last vaccination’.

Actions for owners to take:

It is crucial for all horse and pony owners to be vigilant and follow recommended guidelines on how to detect and prevent the spread of this infectious disease.

Look out for signs of disease which can include high temperature, cough, snotty nose, enlarged glands (under the lower jaw), swollen or sore eyes, depression, loss of appetite and swelling in the lower legs.

If you see any of these signs, isolate the horse and call your vet immediately.

It is essential that any horses showing signs of possible equine flu, or horses that might have been in contact with possibly infected horses, do not travel to competitions or other events where there will be groups of horses. If your horse has been in contact with an infected horse we suggest that you should take immediate veterinary advice.

We advise that horses are vaccinated with a booster for equine flu with a vaccine that contains the Florida Clade 1. There are two such vaccines currently licensed in the UK, ProteqFlu and Equilis Prequenza. If your horse is currently vaccinated, but it has been longer than 6 months since the last vaccination, we recommend that you discuss a booster with your veterinary surgeon.

The BEF also has guidance on its website regarding equine infectious diseases and is urging owners to take the necessary precautions to avoid their horses becoming infected.

Further information on the equine flu outbreak visit:

Follow @equiflunet

www.equiflunet.org.uk

www.bef.co.uk/Detail.aspx?page=Horse-Health-Biosecurity

Oddschecker spokesperson George Elek commented: “News that equine influenza has cancelled four scheduled meetings across the UK will come to the great concern of bookmakers, with horse racing equating to roughly 33% of annual turnover.

“A similar case struck Australian racing and bookmakers back in 2007, cancelling Sydney’s spring racing carnival and took months for racing to resume normality.

“At this stage, it is difficult to know how long UK racing may be restricted and if the BHA will take the step to cancel further racing in the UK.

“Cancellations aren’t unknown within racing, usually the result of inclement weather, with the Beast From the East partly responsible for the plethora of abandonments in the early part of 2018.

“14% of meetings were cancelled in the first three months of last year. Despite bookmakers’ efforts to shift betting activity elsewhere (international racing and other sports), the impact of a prolonged period of horse racing cancellations in the run-up to Cheltenham would be hugely detrimental for UK-facing operators.”

“In early trading, GVC, Paddy Power Betfair and William Hill are all trading circa 2% lower than yesterday.”

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