Horse owners in central Scotland are being warned to keep their horses’ flu vaccinations up to date following an increased number of cases in the area.

The British Horse Society (BHS) and Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Science are reminding horse owners of the importance of vaccinating their horses after an increase in the number of equine flu cases in central Scotland being reported.

Helen Mauchlen from the BHS said: “We’ve had a timely ‘heads up’ from the Animal Health Trust that equine flu is being diagnosed in Scotland at the moment, with the latest outbreak being near Edinburgh.

“Influenza vaccination does offer effective protection and, with horses mixing regularly at the peak of our competition circuit, it is vital that owners take precautions to prevent equine flu from spreading.”

Professor Bruce McGorum from the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Science advised owners to keep their horse’s vaccinations up to date and to arrange vaccination of any unvaccinated horses.

“Influenza can spread rapidly through a horse population, causing lethargy, fever, nasal discharge and coughing. The Animal Health Trust has notified us of a recent increase in the number of cases of equine influenza in Scotland predominantly, but not exclusively, involving unvaccinated animals.

“Influenza vaccination is recommended not only because it prevents development of the clinical disease or reduces the severity and duration of flu symptoms, but also because it reduces the spread of infection through the horse population.”