Equine flu: advice to owners after new cases include 16 on one yard

Owners must not take horses to events or competitions if others at the yard appear unwell, the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) has stated, after a number of new cases of flu have been confirmed.

The Animal Health Trust (AHT) has reported confirmed cases of the virus in Shropshire, Worcestershire, Norfolk and Buckinghamshire over the weekend.

In Worcestershire, 16 horses tested positive at one premises, which the AHT states is thought to be related to unvaccinated horses coming into contact with other equines at an event.

“The BEF continues to recommend strongly that unvaccinated horses do not mix with other horses,” the federation said in a statement. “Our advice remains that owners MUST NOT take their horse to an event or competition if horses at their yard appear to be unwell.

“The current outbreak has demonstrated the importance of vaccinations and the BEF continues to urge all owners to ensure that their vaccination records are up to date. If it has been longer than six months since the last vaccination, we strongly recommend discussing a booster with their veterinary surgeon.”

The BEF has asked organisers of all competitions and training events to check the passports of all horses attending to ensure they are vaccinated.

A number of venues have also put in place extra precautionary measures, and riders are advised to check requirements before they leave.

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The British Eventing (BE) season starts next weekend (2-3 March) and some organisers are among those to change requirements.

BE said that if a venue has “enhanced the conditions of vaccinations above those required” under BE rule 10.2, any horse competing must abide by these requirements. The list of policies for forthcoming BE fixtures is on the BE website, but riders should check with venues directly.

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