Equine flu update: Friday 17:30

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Fri, 08 Feb 2019 14:32 GMT

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) notes the latest update from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on Friday 8 February that there have been three further positive results for equine flu – bringing the total number of positive results to six – all of which are in the same racing yard.

The advice from BEF veterinary experts remains that it's not necessary to cancel other equine events as there is as yet no evidence of widespread infection, however we will continue to monitor this situation closely and will issue further updates as more information becomes available.

We continue to urge all horse owners to be vigilant and follow the recommended guidelines on how to detect and prevent the spread of this infectious disease.

The BEF also urge any owners with suspected cases to take immediate veterinary advice and if equine flu is confirmed by laboratory testing, they should contact their relevant member body.

• It’s 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 – the FEI Q&A sheet is helpful for all owners and they have a webinar you can take via the FEI campus on Equine Influenza: a horse owners guide.

• 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. Keep a daily ‘TPR’ diary at a similar time each day, measuring temperature, pulse and respiration to help detect any changes as well as external checks for symptoms. Ensure your yard carries out good biosecurity practices.

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

• It’s 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.

• If your horse is currently vaccinated, but it has been longer than six months since the last vaccination, we recommend that you discuss a booster with your veterinary surgeon.

BD members are also reminded:

• Any horses competing under BD rules at any level must be fully vaccinated.

Rule 9 (p58 of the 2019 Members’ Handbook) states: To protect the health of the other competing horses and the biosecurity of the venue, a valid passport must accompany the horse to all competitions and be produced on request. Failure to comply is a disciplinary offence and will debar the horse from competing at the event for which it has been entered. A horse will not be permitted to compete unless it has a current vaccination against equine influenza which complies with the following conditions: 
- An initial course of two injections for primary vaccination, not less than 21 days and not more than 92 days apart, are required before being eligible to compete 
- A first booster injection must be given between 150 and 215 days after the second injection of primary vaccination
- Subsequent booster injections must be given at intervals of not more than one calendar year, commencing after the first booster injection 
- The full course or booster must have been administered at least seven days before the competition.
The vaccination record(s) in the horse’s passport, must be completed, signed and stamped line by line, by an appropriate veterinary surgeon (who is neither the owner nor the rider of the horse). For those competing under FEI rules, please refer to FEI rules.
The responsibility to comply with this rule lies with the competitor who should consult with their veterinarian.

As stated above, members are advised to give their horses a booster if they have not had one in the previous six months but please remember the seven day rule.

• It’s law that your horse’s passport accompanies it at all times, this includes travelling – you’re liable for an unlimited fine if you can’t show a valid horse passport. Currently, we advise that you make sure you have the passport and full vaccination record ready to present at the venue when competing as there may be spot checks carried out.
Organisers are permitted to request passports to check vaccinations comply with rule 9. If your horse’s vaccination record does not meet the requirements, you will not be permitted to compete.