It is that time of year, when kids are back at school and they quickly bring you home the flu bug. Well, its seems no different this year with our equine friends. There have been a few cases of the flu out there, horses with temps, snots & coughs but like most flu’s, it is usually viral and has to run its course. Giving meds to control the temperature is about the best thing you can do to keep them comfortable. Also keeping the flu victim away from others, just as in all disease outbreak situations, is not only logical but responsible.
Flu hits horses the same as with humans, the very young and old seem to get hit the hardest as well as those that are not up to date on their vaccines.
Those horses that are vaccinated regularly may still get a mild case of the flu in an outbreak compared to those that are not.
If your horse is so far in the clear, administering a booster shot of Flu/Rhino would be a good thing!
FAQ’s regarding Equine Influenza
1. Is my horse protected? Having the Flu/Rhino vacciantion administered at a minimun of every 6 months should help keep it away but like all Flu’s, there continues to be new strains.
2. How contagious is the Flu? Horses that are exposed to others that are affected with influenza are fairly likely to come down with the flu themselves if they have not been properly vaccinated. Even secondary exposure via unaffected horses that have been exposed to horses with the flu can result in disease in unprotected horses.
3. Should I stay away from all events/competitions? No, go have fun but take some precautions. Vaccinate horses that are out with others, and minimize exposure to other horses at the show. Don’t share buckets, stalls, grooming equipment etc. Use common sense.
4. As a barn owner, how strict should I be with the movement of horses in and out of my barn? Requiring vaccination for horses coming in or leaving to shows etc would be a good first step. Quarantine of new horses for a couple of weeks is also prudent. Keeping the frequent travellers apart from the others as much as possible can also help to minimize transmission of viruses to other horses.
Planning for the wet season ahead!
Nothing worse than not being prepared for the change of season, gone are those lovely long days of summer and into the dreary days of winter…yes, already!
Time to clean the winter blankets and treat them, Thompson’s Water Deck Seal works best (the ‘water based’ one and spray on with a squirt bottle!). May have to repair that rain sheet also before you know, it will be needed!
Repair stalls from those nasty drafts that develope over time and get some good drainage rock where the ground gets too mucky during the rainy season (that’s all the time here!).
Hopefully you were able to stock up a bit on the local hay that actually came off the fields this year, finding it during the winter is always a drag….and expensive!
~Hermen Geertsema Equine Services Inc.
‘Striving for excellence in veterinary care’