An outbreak of Equine Influenza is spreading throughout France and owners of horses,ponies,donkeys and mules are urged to be extra vigilant at the moment. The outbreak was originally declared in the centre of Grosbois and quickly spread to stables in Orne, Calvados, Maine et Loire and Cagnes sur Mer.
The recommended vaccine for this particular strain of Equine Influenza is PROTEQFLU nd and PROTEQFLU TE nd.
If your horse has been vaccinated in the last six months or if your horse stays on your property and has no other contact with visiting horses, then the risk of infection is very low. But, if your horse travels or has contact with new horses, or hasn’t been vaccinated in the last six months , then revaccinate! The better protected they are the less severe the symptoms will be if they are affected.
Some facts on Equine Flu:
- It is a disease caused by a virus that affects the upper and lower respiratory tract of horses, donkeys and mules
- It is very infectious and spreads rapidly through groups of horses with an incubation period of one to three days
- Influenza is so contagious that there is a near 100% infection rate in un-vaccinated horses
- Like many diseases the young and the old are at greater risk of complications, as are those that experience periods of stress such as travelling
- The disease is spread by inhalation of virus released into the atmosphere by coughing and blowing
Clinical signs can include:
- The sudden onset of a dry cough,often described as a hacking cough
- A high temperature – 39-41 degrees centigrade
- Clear, watery nasal discharge that may become thick and yellow or green
- Enlarged glands under the lower jaw
- Clear discharge from the eyes
- Loss of appetite and depression
- Legs filling up
If you suspect your horse has Equine Flu:
- Isolate the equine immediately
- Call your vet
- Follow strict hygiene procedures and disinfect tools, equipment, boxes
- Rest the equine
- Ensure the equine is in a place with good ventilation
Here is a video clip of some horses with EI to help you spot the signs, symptoms do vary with each different strain though.