Equine flu advice from vets is to get animals vaccinated

Galedin Vets vet Michael Morrison administers the equine flu vaccine to a horse, helped by practice's assistant Cheryl Elliot.
Galedin Vets vet Michael Morrison administers the equine flu vaccine to a horse, helped by practice's assistant Cheryl Elliot.

Galedin Vets in Duns is urging owners to ensure their horses or ponies are vaccinated after outbreaks of equine flu.

The outbreak became headline news when race meetings across the UK were abandoned for a week because of concern at how quickly the airborne infection can spread.

Symptoms include nasal discharge, a dry cough, high temperature and loss of appetite. Vaccinated horses can contract equine flu, but symptoms are transient and much less serious.

Galedin Vets vet Ryan O’Connor is urging owners whose horses have not been vaccinated in the last six months to have a booster vaccination.

“Horses that are not vaccinated are at serious risk if they come into direct contact with a horse suffering from the condition,” said Mr O’Connor.

“Many owners say they don’t have their horse vaccinated because they don’t take it away to shows or competition, but if a horse shares a stable yard with other horses that are taken away, then there is a risk.

“Any horse that has not been vaccinated against flu in the last six months should be vaccinated again. Horses that are more vulnerable include younger horses six and 12 months old, older horses and those with medical conditions like Cushing’s disease, liver disease or gastro-intestinal problems.

“A quick diagnosis helps ensure the best care can be given and that the correct preventative bio-security measures can be put in place to stop the spread of the virus.”