Duns vet gives equine flu warning to Borders horse owners

Galedin Vets in Duns has issued the warning
Galedin Vets in Duns has issued the warning

A Duns veterinary practice has issued a warning to horse owners following the Equine Influenza outbreak.

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

Race meetings across the United Kingdom have been abandoned because of concern at how quickly the airborne infection can spread, making it hard to contain.

Symptoms include nasal discharge, a dry cough, high temperature, loss of appetite and generally feeling unwell.

Vaccinated horses can also contract equine flu, but symptoms are transient and much less serious.

To help tackle the outbreak, vets are urging owners whose horses have not been vaccinated in the last six months to have a booster vaccination.

Galedin Vets' Ryan O’Connor said: “Horses that are not vaccinated are at serious risk if they come into direct contact with a horse suffering from the condition.

“However, there is also an indirect risk. 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. Vaccination is like putting on a suit of armour and is the best way to protect your horse.

“Horses that are more vulnerable include younger horses, aged between six and 12 months old, as their immune system isn’t fully developed, older horses and those with medical conditions like Cushing’s disease, liver disease or gastro-intestinal problems.”

Galedin Vets is urging owners to contact their vet if they suspect their horse is suffering from flu or there is a suspected outbreak on their yard.

Ryan added: “Making a quick diagnosis helps to ensure the best care can be given to a horse and that the correct preventative biosecurity measures can be put in place to stop the spread of the virus.”