Equine flu is highly contagious and can cause serious disease in unprotected horses. The current outbreak in Ireland is caused by a Clade 1 strain of the virus that hasn’t been diagnosed in Ireland since 2010. MSD Animal Health has had a number of recent queries to determine if our flu vaccines (The Equilis Prequenza range) provide protection against this clade. The good news is that you can protect your horse through vaccination with this flu vaccine range from MSD Animal Health. Always seek advice from your veterinary practitioner on which is the most appropriate vaccination regime for your horse.
Recent advice from the Irish Equine Centre is as follows:
To minimise the risk of equine influenza:
1. Booster vaccination is recommended for horses that have not been vaccinated in the last six months. It is preferable to use a vaccine that contains a Clade 1 virus such as A/eq/South Africa/04/2003 or A/eq/Ohio/2003. Please note: The Equilis Prequenza range of vaccines contains the A/eq/South Africa/04/2003 strain of equine influenza so it complies with the Irish Equine recommendations concerning coverage against this 2019 outbreak.
2. All horses on a premises should be vaccinated to ensure herd immunity. Unvaccinated infected horses will amplify virus and shed large quantities into the atmosphere. If there is sufficient build-up of virus their vaccinated companions are likely to develop clinical signs.
3. Young horses and horses early in their vaccination career, are more susceptible to influenza than older horses that have been vaccinated for many years. Thus, it is advisable to group horses according to risk, for example, yearlings should not be stabled in the same barn as racehorses. 4. New arrivals or horses returning from equestrian events should be isolated for preferably two weeks but a minimum of one week, during which time their temperature should be monitored daily and veterinary advice sought if influenza is suspected.
For further information on equine influenza please visit: www.vaccination.ie/equine-influenza-disease.aspx