Five Washington horses positive for influenza ~ Washington

Four more horses in Kitsap County, Washington, have tested positive for equine flu since the first case was reported last week. Wikimedia Commons

Four other horses at a boarding house in Kitsap County, Washington have tested positive for equine flu. The state veterinary service on November 14 confirmed the first positive case in a horse that had recently returned from a show. These additional cases bring the total to five.

There are several barns in the pension. All cases are confined to a barn. The affected horses are doing better, the stable is under voluntary quarantine. Animal health officials are working with the private veterinarian on biosecurity protocols.

EDCC Health Watch is an Equine Network marketing program that uses information from the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) to create and distribute verified reports on equine diseases. That EDCC is an independent non-profit organization supported by industry donations to provide open access to infectious disease information.

About the horse flu

Equine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects horses, ponies and other equine species such as donkeys, mules and zebras. The virus that causes it is spread through the saliva and respiratory secretions of infected horses. Horses are commonly exposed through horse-to-horse contact; aerosol transmission through coughing and sneezing; and contact with contaminated human hands, shoes, or clothing, or contaminated harness, buckets, or other equipment.

Clinical signs of equine influenza infection may include high fever (up to 106°F); a dry, hacking cough; Depression; weakness; Anorexia; serous (watery) nasal discharge; and slightly enlarged lymph nodes. Consider monitoring your horse’s health at shows by taking their temperature daily, which can help you spot signs of infection early 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 received equine influenza vaccination within six months prior to participation in any competition or event 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 disease. These measures include quarantining new arrivals in stables, disinfecting buckets and equipment and preventing nose-to-nose contact between horses.

Click here to read general equine flu questions and answers.

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