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February 9, 2019
Equine Influenza Precautions

I’ve had a few enquiries from clients regarding the Equine Influenza (Flu) outbreak and I appreciate that, over the course of my work, I visit quite a few yards during any given week, which may be cause for concern for some people. Obviously, each person has their own concept of risk – I have had requests to cancel lessons whereas others are happy to proceed with caution.

Let’s start with the fact that Equine Flu is endemic in the UK, which is one of the reasons we vaccinate against it. If your horse is not vaccinated, it is at a much higher risk of contracting and dying from the disease and also transferring it to others. Horses that have been vaccinated can still catch it, but the symptoms are likely to be less severe. Veterinary advice is also to revaccinate your horse if it hasn’t been done in the last six months. This is especially important if your horse is 4 years old or younger. Vet advice also suggests that a horse is likely at the very least to have a raised temperature (above 38.5°C), but also may be coughing, have a snotty nose, loss of appetite and lethargy. Obviously, contact your vet if your horse is showing any of these symptoms.

WHAT I WILL BE DOING:

- Ensuring my own ponies are protected against the disease. Depending on the duration of the outbreak, this may affect people planning to visit my yard with their horses. This will be discussed on a case-by-case basis.

- Checking that client horses are vaccinated and that the yard has no horses showing flu symptoms.

- Disinfecting clothing and footwear prior to each separate yard visit and using hand gel before and after each lesson.

- Where possible, having minimal physical contact with client horses.

WHAT I EXPECT FROM MY CLIENTS:

- Notify me if any horses at your yard are showing symptoms of flu or if your own horse is unvaccinated.

- Consider whether travelling your horse to another location is essential during this time.

- Ask me if you want me to show you how to take your horse’s temperature - I have posted a video on my Facebook page to show you if you have never done it before https://www.facebook.com/nellcandelaria/videos/421239545300383/

Some may consider these actions excessive, however, from my perspective, the sooner the disease is contained, the sooner we can recommence usual activities.

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