Vets Checking Racehorses in Japan for Equine Influenza

About 200 veterinarians were dispatched yesterday to check 5,000 racehorses in Japan for equine influenza after 20 animals at a training center were found to be positive for the virus, Reuters reported in the Guardian Limited.

Officials have stopped horses from moving between Japan Racing Association facilities, the Guardian Limited reported.

Influenza is not usually life threatening, but it can make a horse uncomfortable and increase vulnerability to other diseases.

Treatment for equine influenza includes keeping the horse comfortable and reducing fever. Horses generally should be rested one week for every degree of fever at the peak of the illness. Influenza can spread by direct contact, by people in contact with infected horses, and by respiratory droplets over short distances.

Horses exposed to transient populations, those stressed by shipping or heavy training schedules, youngsters, and seniors are most at risk of contracting influenza.

According to the Guardian report, all horses under the Japan Racing Association are vaccinated against equine flu. Races were cancelled in 1971 after 1,800 horses were infected with influenza.

About the Author

Erin Ryder

Erin Ryder is a former news editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care. She owns a portly gray gelding named Duncan and dabbles in several equestrian disciplines, with an emphasis on dressage.

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