In 2019, we saw just over 100 times more recorded outbreaks of equine flu across the UK than in 20182. Horses were affected across the country and numerous equestrian events were cancelled as a result.
Flu hasn’t gone away in 2020
It’s more important than ever to get your horse vaccinated against this highly contagious disease so we can help protect our equine community and continue to have fun with our horses.
My horse doesn’t travel and I just hack locally, so I’m not at risk.
The virus is airborne, and in favourable conditions it can travel 5km. Even if all the horses on your yard avoid flu, it just takes one sneeze from an infected horse travelling through the area or in a nearby field to put you at risk.
Only the young, old and fragile are at risk
Whilst severity and complications can be worse in animals with an already weakened immune system, flu doesn't care who it infects and ALL horses are at risk.
I think I’ll take the risk and wait and see what happens
Taking a watch and wait approach is sometimes the best way forward, but not with flu. Don't do it to yourself. A simple and cost-effective vaccination gives you the reassurance that your horse will stay as well as possible, and there’s less chance of infecting your friends horses or any nearby, and you'll be able to continue doing all the things you love with your horse.
What IS equine flu and is it really that bad?!
Equine flu is a highly contagious respiratory disease that all horses, donkeys and mules can catch regardless of age or condition. It's endemic in the UK which means it's always around, and vaccination is THE best way to limit its impact and help protect as many horses as possible.
Immunity needs to be built up during the first year and your horses need three initial injections. This immunity doesn't last a lifetime, so you'll then need to have regular boosters as agreed by your vet.
Flu infection can be severe in unvaccinated horses and signs include:
- Nasal discharge
- Loss of appetite
- High temperature
Following infection, horses will be contagious and will also need a long rest period of up to 100 days whilst their respiratory tract recovers.
Our horses give us so much pleasure, and rely on us to keep them fit and healthy.