Equine influenza emerges as new threat to Irish horse trainers

Equine influenza has emerged as a new threat to Irish horse trainers preparing for big meetings like Cheltenham in mid-March.

The Irish Equine Centre has reported a horse flu outbreak in Munster and Leinster, and advised trainers and handlers to take guidance from their veterinary surgeons.

It follows several outbreaks across Europe, with some of the cases occurring in vaccinated horses, in France, Belgium and Ireland.

The British Horseracing Authority has reported 11 known cases, beginning with four in France in December; four in the UK since January 2: and two in Ireland, one of which was in a vaccinated thoroughbred.

In Ireland, racehorses in training are required to be vaccinated for equine influenza. The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board has advised that all horses which have not had a vaccine containing Clade 1 virus within the last six months are given a booster as soon as possible.

“Horses showing signs that could be flu (especially rapidly spreading nasal discharge and/or harsh dry cough) should be promptly investigated by your vet. These symptoms may only be transient in vaccinated horses.”

Equine influenza is caused by a highly infectious airborne virus, especially in unvaccinated horses.

It is the most potentially damaging of respiratory viruses in equines.

Unvaccinated animals may suffer permanent lung or heart damage, and loss of athletic potential.

Symptoms are less severe in vaccinated horses, ranging from increased temperature and a horse being off feed, to more severe respiratory signs.

Equine influenza is prevented by immunisation of horses through vaccination.

It is essential that much of the equine population is fully vaccinated.

More in this Section

IFA urges meat factories to match increases across EU markets

A 40th wedding anniversary invitation is a reminder of penitential pilgrimages

A farmer's short-lived attempt to give up eating meat

ASSAP bid to improve water quality under way


Lifestyle

On the 6th anniversary of the Rana Plaza tragedy – how transparent are fashion brands being now?

How to make Henry Firth and Ian Theasby’s New York-style baked strawberry cheesecake

Want to cut down on sugar? Experts reveal how to slash your intake in 6 simple steps

As Taylor Swift goes all Victoriana at the Time Gala – 3 times she’s made a splash on the red carpet

More From The Irish Examiner