Two Horses Euthanized on Hendra-Quarantined Property

Two horses residing at a quarantined property near Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia, where a foal recently died of hendra virus have been euthanized after falling ill.

Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer Rick Symons, BVSc, MBA, PhD, said the horses suddenly became ill and showed nervous signs before being put down at the owners' request to prevent further suffering.

"The rapid onset of illness and the clinical signs all suggested hendra virus infection, which was confirmed by laboratory test results late yesterday (July 26)," Symons said. "There are no more horses on the property, but there are still two dogs. They are being monitored daily and the property will remain under quarantine until late August.

"Three properties near Mackay (in Queensland) also remain under quarantine after a confirmed case of Hendra virus last month," he added.

Hendra virus has been known to yield numerous clinical signs in horses including respiratory distress, frothy nasal discharge, elevated body temperature (above 40°C, or 104°F), and elevated heart rate; however, authorities caution that hendra infection does not have specific signs.

The Australian Veterinary Association suggested that horse owners can reduce the risks of hendra virus in their horses by fencing off trees attractive to flying foxes (a type of fruit bat thought to spread hendra to horses), covering horse feed and water containers, and not feeding horses food that could appeal to flying foxes, such as fruit and vegetables.

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