News from Lambourn Equine Vets

Equine Influenza

Following British Horseracing’s decision to cancel all racing today (7 February) Lambourn Equine Vets is closely monitoring the situation. Veterinary experts have not advised to cancel other equine events at this time and further updates will be provided as more information becomes available.  The BHA’s decision was precautionary and we are encouraging our clients to not be unduly concerned at this time.

LEV recommends that all owners follow the guidelines below as a precaution and ensure that all vaccinations are fully up to date. If your horse is currently vaccinated, we recommend a booster if it has been longer than 6 months since your horse’s last vaccination.

Actions for owners to take:        

  • It is crucial for all horse and pony owners to be vigilant and follow recommended guidelines on how to detect and prevent the spread of this infectious disease.
  • Look out for signs of disease which can include high temperature, cough, snotty nose, enlarged glands (under the lower jaw), swollen or sore eyes, depression, loss of appetite and swelling in the lower legs.
  • If you see any of these signs, isolate the horse and call us immediately 01488 73755.

It is essential that any horses showing signs of possible equine flu, or horses that might have been in contact with possibly infected horses, do not travel to competitions or other events where there will be groups of horses. If your horse has been in contact with an infected horse we suggest that you should call us for further advice.

Two subtypes of influenza A virus are known to cause influenza in horses, these are the subtypes H7N7 (formerly known as A/equine 1) and H3N8 (formerly known as A/equine 2). Similar to other influenza viruses there are various different strains, the current outbreak is associated with Florida Clade 1 and this is included in our influenza vaccinations so vaccinated horses are therefore offered some protection.  Equine influenza protection like other viruses is based on herd immunity and your horse receiving a vaccination will generate an immunity which will reduce the severity of clinical signs and also reduce the viral load shed by that horse therefore in turn reducing the risk to the wider population.  This is the reason we are advising about boosting horses at this time if they have not received a vaccination within the last 6 months to endeavour to maximise the overall UK “herd immunity" and limit the spread.

Horses that have been in contact with the outbreak are being tested to determine the spread of the outbreak.

Any questions we are here to help. Clearly the demand is high at this time so please bear with us whilst we endeavour to schedule these vaccinations in the most efficient manner, so we assist all those clients requiring additional vaccinations.