Equine Influenza: 42,000 Horses Infected in New South Wales

The Department of Primary Industries in New South Wales stated that as of Nov. 23, there are 5401 infected properties, 491 dangerous contact properties, 487 suspect properties, and  42,253 infected horses. There were 41,167 total infected horses reported yesterday (Nov. 22; please note the numbers are influenced by the rate of return of paperwork to the government).

Equine influenza has been eradicated in the areas around Mudgee and Temora, following the clearance of flu from Dunedoo, Berry, and Wauchope in the past three weeks.

"When the time comes, all other infected regions will also need to go through at least six weeks of testing and investigations to demonstrate their freedom from horse flu," noted a government press release. "In the meantime, movement restrictions and mandatory bio-security standards must continue to contain the virus and let it burn out in already infected areas.

Police and Department of Primary Industries (DPI) investigations are underway into an alleged serious breach of equine influenza movement restrictions at Orange. A Sydney man was reported to the DPI late yesterday after he allegedly transported a horse from Randwick racecourse to a property near Orange.

The government offered the following tip about returning horses to work after a bout with influenza: Horses suffering from equine influenza should be given complete rest. Horses usually require at least 30 days complete rest after infection, or longer if they suffer a fever for more than four days: as a general rule, they should have a week of complete rest for every day they have a raised temperature. Like people with influenza, individual horses recover at different rates. After approximately 30 days of complete rest, only light exercise is recommended for a further 30 days, then fitness should be built up by gradually increasing work. When bringing a horse back into work, use your intuition. If your horse makes a quick recovery, you might be able to start gradually increasing work after a couple of weeks.

Light exercise refers to walking and trotting for short spells (trot for short distances, then back to walk, aim for 15 to 30 minutes of trotting in total). After approximately four weeks of light work, gradually increase the amount of trotting, then work up to a canter over a week. If your horse tires easily or breathes heavily, reduce the level of exercise.

Queensland government officals report 2152 Infected Properties, but don't list the number of affected horses. Queensland officials note there is a continuing reduction in infected properties due to farms having horses that are no longer shedding the virus.

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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