Equine flu confirmed in Washington State University herd – the Horse
Horses are part of USDA research studying tick-borne parasitic diseases, according to a statement from WSU. The herd is quarantined and all affected horses are declared cured under veterinary care.
On August 25, WSDA officials confirmed that three horses in Whitman County suffered from equine influenza (AE) in a boarding house. Seven additional horses are suspected to be carriers of the disease. The boarding house where the horses reside was quarantined until all horses were asymptomatic for two weeks.
About equine influenza
Equine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease that infects horses, ponies and other equines, such as donkeys, mules and zebras. The virus that causes it is spread through the saliva and respiratory secretions of infected horses. Horses are generally exposed by horse-to-horse contact; aerosol transmission through coughing and sneezing; and contact with contaminated human hands, shoes or clothing or with contaminated bedbugs, buckets or other equipment.
Clinical signs of equine influenza infection may include a high fever (up to 106 ° F); a dry, throbbing cough; depression; weakness; anorexia; serous (watery) nasal discharge; and slightly enlarged lymph nodes. Consider monitoring your horse’s health during shows by taking his temperature daily, which can help you quickly spot signs of infection and take appropriate action to reduce the spread of the disease.
Vaccination is an important and inexpensive way to protect your horse. US Equestrian requires proof that horses have been vaccinated against equine influenza within six months of participating in competitions or events sanctioned by the organization. Your veterinarian can help you determine what other vaccines your horse might benefit from.
In addition to vaccination, following strict biosecurity protocols can help reduce your horse’s risk of infection and illness. These measures include quarantining new arrivals of equines in barns, disinfecting buckets and equipment, and preventing nose-to-nose contact between horses.