Equine flu vaccinations reminder one year after major outbreak

  • Are you up to date with the 2020 flu vaccination rules for your equestrian sport’s governing body? H&H is here to help...

    Competitors are reminded to check flu vaccination rules as the spring competition season swings into view.

    February marks a year since the 2019 equine flu outbreak, which temporarily halted racing and resulted in new regulations and practices to try to protect the UK’s horse population and prevent its spread.

    Rules from 2019 have changed slightly for 2020 for many of the affiliated bodies.

    British Eventing (BE) regulations now state horses must have had a booster within six months and 21 days, but should not receive a vaccination within seven days of a competition. Previously the rules were six months and that no relevant injection be given on the day of an event.

    British Dressage (BD) rules are the same, although the organisation has introduced a dispensation process for horses who experience severe reactions. The dispensation is for six-monthly boosters only, not for the minimum vaccination requirements, with which all members must comply. It involves an application form, to be completed with a vet, which will be reviewed by a specialist panel and if granted, dispensation will last for 12 months.

    British Showjumping’s (BS) 2020 handbook states boosters must be given within a year and at least seven days prior to the competition date. In addition, individual venues hosting BS competitions may also have six-monthly requirements.

    For the 2019/20 season, British Team Chasing (BTC) is continuing with the same approach as last spring, when it was recommended to event organisers and competitors that they should follow the latest recommendations of the British Equestrian Federation (BEF).

    “As part of this advice, BTC continues to urge all horse owners to ensure their vaccination records are up to date, and that their horse benefits from a current vaccination against equine flu,” stated a BTC notice. “Where it has been more than six months since the last vaccination of a horse, BTC strongly recommends owners discuss a booster with their veterinary surgeon. No relevant injection may have been given within seven days of the day of competition.”

    It also recommends a valid vaccination record accompanies the horse to all events and is made available to inspection where requested, with organisers reserving the right to prevent a horse from competing should this not be done.

    The current British Horseracing Authority (BHA) regulations under Rules and in point-to-pointing will remain in place for 2020, with consultation taking place this year on whether these be changed for 2021.

    “This follows a meeting of the European Horseracing Scientific Liaison Committee in early October, where proposed changes were agreed by the committee after considering advice from a number of experts in equine infectious disease,” states the latest advice from the British Horseracing Authority. “Other European racing jurisdictions will be carrying out similar consultations in 2020, with the aim of achieving harmonised vaccination requirements for racehorses across Europe.”

    Currently, horses on racecourse property must have had a booster within nine months. The consultation is on whether this be reduced to six months.

    If you compete under any other governing bodies, H&H recommends that you check their 2020 rulebook to ensure your horse’s vaccinations comply with their requirements.

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