Equine Influenza Signs and Symptoms

Equine Influenza Signs and Symptoms

Equine Influenza is a viral, upper respiratory disease which is extremely contagious and spreads rapidly wherever horses are gathered together, such as stables, stock yards, etc., and attacks those horses that are most susceptible and/or unvaccinated.

The signs and symptoms seen with both diseases are usually a sudden fever (103 to 106 degrees F), lethargy, nasal discharge, coughing, weakness, stiffness and loss of appetite and depression. Some horses may develop only a mild case of influenza, and symptoms may go unnoticed while other horses may develop a severe infection and remain ill for weeks.

Equine influenza is spread as your horse breaths in droplets of infective material. Can be transmitted by air l from horse to horse over distances as far as 30 yards more or less, by (snorting or coughing). Horses with influenza usually have a dry, hacking cough that increases the spread of the virus in areas where horses are concentrated, such as at public stables, shows, and sales.

Prevention of Equine Influenza is really very simple. A clean barn and vaccinating horses against equine influenza go a long way in preventing an influenza outbreak. It is very important to keep your horse vaccines up-to-date and have a good insect control and de-worming program in place.

Most horse owners vaccinate most often against eastern and western encephalitis, tetanus and influenza but often neglect vaccinating against the rhinovirus.

Rhinipneumonitis-is also a viral disease, which can pass from horse to horse. It is rarely fatal to adult horses, but can cause abortion in mares at almost any stage of pregnancy. The symptoms are similar to influenza, such as watery discharge of the horses nasal passages, rise in temperature, lethargy, coughing and appetite loss. Abortion in pregnant mares usually occurs during the final trimester of the pregnancy.

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Usually pregnant mares are give the rhino shot at the 5th, 7th and 9th month of pregnancy. Influenza vaccines should be given once a year with a booter shot in three months. Many horse owners choose not to vaccinate their horses with the flu vac and have never had an outbreak, but my advice is to contact your vet for more information on what vaccines your horse or horses need and do ask him or her about the rhino vaccine if you have any pregnant mares. There are many pros and cons to vaccines, some horse owners prefer holistic herbs vs vaccines and have had good reports, so again check with other knowledgeable horse owners and get the information you need to protect the health of your horse.