WARNING – Equine influenza outbreaks in the UK

There have been an increasing number of equine influenza outbreaks in the UK this year and recent reports from Newmarket have involved some vaccinated horses which has led to cancellation of race meetings. The H3N8 Florida clade 1 influenza virus strain appears to be the main current threat in the UK. Not all UK equine ‘flu vaccine brands contain this strain but we are happy to confirm that Liphook Equine Hospital has been using a vaccine brand containing this strain ever since it became available about 10 years ago (Proteq-flu).

It is crucial that the news of vaccinated horses becoming infected with ‘flu is not misinterpreted as evidence that the vaccine doesn’t work. There are 2 important points to remember in this respect:

1) Vaccinated horses tend to have very mild clinical signs, if any all,

and,

2) It is generally those horses where their last vaccine was given more than 6 months previously that might be susceptible to infection.

Therefore, it is our advice that any horse that has not received a booster within the last 3-6 months is given a booster as soon as possible.

Please feel free to speak to one of our vets for further clarification regarding your horse’s situation, or call reception to arrange a booster vaccination.