Tuesday equine flu update

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Tue, 12 Feb 2019 14:26

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) welcomes the decision by the British Horseracing Authority to resume racing tomorrow (Wednesday 13 February).

As there have been no further positive tests since the weekend, after thousands of samples have been tested by the Animal Health Trust, we're cautiously optimistic that the current outbreak of equine flu is relatively contained to a small number of cases.

The BEF continues to closely monitor the situation and assess the risk to health of UK horses whilst in regular consultation with specialist vets and experts in equine influenza and epidemiology with experience of managing previous outbreaks. Their assessment remains that it is not necessary to cancel other equine events subject to local disease status and local veterinary advice.

The BEF continues to urge horse owners to be vigilant for symptoms of equine flu – coughing, nasal discharge, loss of appetite, lethargy – and call their vet if they think their horses are showing signs.

All owners must ensure that their vaccination records are up to date – and if it has been longer than six months since the last vaccination, we recommend you discuss a booster with your veterinary surgeon. As has been demonstrated in this outbreak, vaccinations are vital in tackling the spread of the disease. Therefore we also recommend strongly that unvaccinated horses do not mix with other horses.

Our advice remains that you MUST NOT take your horse to an event or competition if horses at your yard are showing any symptoms of being unwell.

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

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.

If you're unsure if your vaccination dates are correct, the BHA has a helpful online checker. 

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.