Influenza Confirmed in Horse Stabled Near WEF

On March 14 Equestrian Sport Productions (ESP) and Palm Beach Equine Clinic, the official veterinarians of the Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF) at Palm Beach International Equestrian Center (PBIEC), in Wellington, Florida, announced that they’d received confirmation from a competitor’s veterinarian that a horse stabled off the show grounds had tested positive for equine influenza.

A statement from ESP and the PBIEC said the horse has been isolated along with other in-contact horses under the supervision of their veterinarian. The horse was appropriately vaccinated and is no longer febrile or showing clinical signs of disease.

The horse tested negative for equine herpesvirus (EHV) and strangles, and at this time there are no confirmed cases of equine herpesvirus at WEF. As it has always been the standard practice, ESP and Palm Beach Equine Clinic, along with competitors’ veterinarians, are prepared to isolate and test any further horses with fevers of unknown origin and will update competitors as necessary.

“We thank everyone for being responsible in reporting such cases,” ESP said in its statement. “As competitors are vaccinating this time of year to prepare for travel leaving Wellington, fevers may happen. We remind all competitors the importance of hygiene and biosecurity, with suggested protocols listed below.”

Individuals with further questions or concerns should contact their veterinarian or the horse show office at 561/793-5867. Questions can also be directed to Palm Beach Equine Clinic at 561/793-1599.

Biosecurity Suggestions from ESP

Healthy horses are an integral part of a showing environment. Exhibitors, especially those traveling long distances, can contribute to that healthy environment by following some basic recommendations:.

  • Have proof of a current negative Coggins test. Renew before it expires and not just before it is necessary to move horses or transport them across state lines.
  • It is strongly recommended that all horses be vaccinated for EHV-1 (either modified live or killed vaccine) no sooner than seven days prior and no later than 90 days prior to entering the show grounds.
  • A health certificate issued within 48 hours of entering the PBIEC is required for all horses. Owners should have proof of vaccination, preferably labeled on these health certificates, for all horses. Those who need health certificates when they arrive can contact Palm Beach Equine Clinic at 561/793-1599 or contact PBEC vets on the show grounds.
  • You should be able to document your horse’s normal temperature before arrival. Do not ship horses with elevated temperatures. It is recommended that you establish a log of temperatures taken at least twice daily. If a horse has an elevated temperature for more than a 24-hour period, please consult your veterinarian immediately.
  • Make every effort to minimize stress and commingling of horses shipped long distances.
  • Any horse on the show grounds with a fever of unknown origin or of suspicious origin should be reported to ESP management. It is always better to err on the side of safety. Isolation stalls will either be available on the grounds or at a local veterinary practice if the need arises.
  • Take the time to review good biosecurity and hygiene practices and express their importance in everyday care to your grooms.
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