UK equine influenza outbreak

UK equine influenza outbreak

All British racing has been cancelled after news has emerged of a significant outbreak of equine flu in the UK. It is unclear if further equine events are to be cancelled.

According to the latest updates, there have been seven confirmed cases of equine influenza across England since the beginning of January, including in Essex, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and, most recently, two cases in Suffolk. The number is rising. While the vast majority of horses affected are not vaccinated, those who are vaccinated can still be susceptible.

Infection can spread rapidly and the shut down of UK racing is a standard response to the outbreak. The next 24 hours will be dedicated to determining the scale and severity of the situation and any further action. There has been no news yet about whether other equine events should be cancelled.

Horse owners are being urged to be aware of the signs and symptoms of equine influenza and get their horses tested if they suspect flu.

Symptoms of the disease can be mild and include coughing, nasal discharge and a high temperature; infection with mild symptoms such as these are often missed. Other symptoms include laboured breathing, swollen glands beneath the jaw, lethargy, depression and a loss of appetite.

If you suspect your horse has flu, isolate your horse immediately and call your vet. Your horse will need to be tested along with any horses he or she has been in contact with.

Latest advice from veterinary experts suggest that now is the best time to discuss with your vet about a booster being administrated to your vaccinated horse.

Remember, if you have any concerns about your horse, call your vet for advice immediately.

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