The National Veterinary Committee wishes to inform all members regarding the reinforcement of Influenza vaccination requirements as follow:
1- All horses and ponies will have to have received the required vaccinations and have the dates the vaccines are administered and batch number entered in their passports by a veterinary surgeon.
2- Horses/ponies attending all events organized by SJI including measuring venues will be checked for compliance.
3- Vaccinations will be available at measuring centres.
4- Ponies attending SJI measuring venues that are not up-to-date with the vaccinations will be required to be vaccinated at the centre, otherwise they will be refused for measuring.
Influenza and Tetanus protocols
1. A Primary Course of two injections not less than 21 days or more than 92 days apart. It is most common to give the second vaccination 3 - 6 weeks after the first.
2. A First Booster must be given 5 - 7 months (not less than 150 days and not more than 215 days) after the second injection of the Primary Course. Thereafter, Annual Boosters are to be given not more than 12 months apart.
If at any time an injection is given later than is required under these rules, the whole sequence must be started from the beginning, including the 5 - 7 month booster. HORSES AND PONIES COMPETING IN FEI COMPETITIONS REQUIRE 6 MONTHLY FLU VACCINATIONS - These rules are meant for competition purposes.
Equine Influenza - Flu Information
A highly contagious, viral disease of the respiratory system caused by different strains of influenza virus. A horse contracts the virus either by contact with an infected horse or indirectly by contaminated air/environment. Infected horses incubate the virus for only 1-3 days before developing symptoms, which is why outbreaks of influenza spread so rapidly.
The symptoms of influenza include:
• An increased temperature up to 41 degrees C (106 degrees F) for 1-3 days
• A harsh dry cough of sudden onset that persists for 2-3 weeks or more
• Clear nasal discharge progressing to thick yellow discharge
• Lethargy, lasting weeks to months and loss of appetite
The disease can develop into life-threatening bronchitis or pneumonia. Often when horses recover from influenza they can be left in a debilitated state making them more susceptible to secondary infections.
Outbreaks of influenza are most common when large numbers of young horses are brought together in stressful conditions e.g. sales or shows.
Because the infecting strain of the virus tends to vary, vaccine manufacturers are constantly updating their vaccines to ensure full protection.
Most influenza vaccinations also contain the tetanus vaccine combined in a single injection. Tetanus is caused by the bacterium Clostridium tetani that is found in soil and horse faeces. It enters the body by an open wound or in some cases via the intestinal tract. It has an incubation period of 7-21 days and hence owners are often not aware that their horse has received a wound, or thought it minor or of no importance and yet their horse develops tetanus.
The signs of tetanus are:
1. Stiffness in the head and limbs progressing to a reluctance to move e.g. Saw horse stance
2. Spasms in the muscles of the head and neck resulting in difficulty chewing, flared nostrils and a wide-eyed expression, third eyelid spasm
3. Trembling progressing to violent, whole body spasms in response to sudden movements. The majority of horses that contract tetanus die.