Wednesday Equine Flu update

  • Written By: British Dressage
  • Published: Wed, 13 Feb 2019 14:22 GMT

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) notes the latest update from the Animal Health Trust (AHT) that there have been three further positive tests for equine flu in Kent, Derbyshire and central Scotland.

Although there have been a relatively small number of positive tests from the thousands of samples taken by the AHT, the BEF continues to urge horse owners to be vigilant for symptoms of equine flu and to call their vet if they think their horses are showing signs. 

Vaccinations are vital in tackling the spread of the disease so all owners must ensure that their vaccination records are up to date, and if it’s been longer than six months since the last vaccination we recommend discussing a booster with their veterinary surgeon.

The BEF also notes that the AHT reports that in all three cases, the horses that tested positive were recently imported from Ireland or had had contact with other recently imported horses. Therefore the BEF asks owners to consider that any contact with recently imported horses represents increased risk as there have also been outbreaks of equine flu in other member states including France and Germany. All owners should follow veterinary advice by isolating any recently imported horses for a period of at least 21 days.

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.