Equine flu vaccinations: rules clarified as sport resumes

  • As British Eventing (BE), British Showjumping (BS) and British Dressage (BD) competitions resume in England, the governing bodies have confirmed their equine flu vaccination rules, which require all horses to have had their annual equine flu vaccination, but the requirement for six-monthly boosters is on hold.

    British Eventing announced an amnesty on six-month boosters until 31 October.

    “We are aware some members will not have been able to have their horses vaccinated during lockdown,” said a BE spokesman.

    “On the advice of our chief veterinary officer that the risk of equine influenza is currently low, we will have an amnesty on the requirement for a booster within six months prior to the date of competition, effective from 1 July to the end of October.”

    The spokesman added that horses competing in national classes during the 2020 season must carry up to date annual vaccinations, so if their annual booster has been missed, they will be required to restart the vaccination process.

    “If your horse has missed the annual vaccination renewal date (i.e. 12 months after the last vaccination) you will need to restart the course before competing,” he said. “This means the horse needs to have had a first and second vaccination with no less than 21 days between each other and seven clear days after the second vaccination, before the date of competition,” he said.

    “The requirement for horses to have had the most recent booster within six months and 21 days prior to the competition will return for the 2021 season.”

    A spokesman for British Dressage (BD) said an amnesty on six-monthly boosters will apply until 30 September, to allow members time to bring their vaccinations up to date.

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    “With horses not travelling during lockdown the risk of equine influenza is currently low, and expected to remain so during the summer months, but it is vitally important the requirement to have a vaccination within six months of competition is in place from 1 October onwards to provide adequate protection when competing in the autumn/winter period,” he said.

    “This temporary amnesty applies to the six-monthly requirement only; all annual vaccinations must still be kept up to date. Unfortunately, if your horse has missed the 12-month vaccination renewal date, then you will need to restart the course before competing, in accordance with BD rules.”

    BS chief executive Iain Graham told H&H while annual vaccinations are the requirement for horses competing in BS, the body “strongly recommends” six-monthly boosters.

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