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Monday, 14 August 2017

How To Treat A Horse With Equine Influenza



Equine influenza is a terrible virus for the horse and can cause a number of secondary problems including heart, liver and the lungs.  Today we will learn about how it affects the horse, what the symptoms are and how it is treated.   





What is Equine Influenza?  

Equine Influenza (or horse flu) targets the upper and lower respiratory system and harms the mucous membranes in the respiratory tract.  This disease is fast working and only takes around 3 days for the horse to show the symptoms after contracting the disease.   
It is a very spreadable virus being one of the most easily spread viral diseases.  It is spread by a horse inhaling the virus for example, a horse with the virus coughing next to another horse.  It spreads very quickly with unvaccinated horses.   
A Horse with equine influenza should be quarantined for around 10 days to ensure no further cases.   



What are the Symptoms of Equine Influenza? 

Influenza in horses can cause secondary problems such as Pneumonia which in foals can be fatal.  In severe cases it can be common that the horse will develop heart or liver problems.  The horse will be feeling terrible and so it is not recommended to work the horse in any way.  A horse will influenza should have a lot of rest and be cared for properly.   

  • High fever 
  • Weight loss 
  • Loss of performance 
  • Harsh coughing  
  • Rapid Breathing  
  • lymph node enlargement 
  • Nasal Discharge 
  • Ocular discharge 
  • Depression  
  • Muscle Pain (refusing to move) 



How Is Equine Influenza Treated? 

If you think your horse has influenza phone the vet as soon as possible.  Influenza can be hard to tell apart from other respiratory problems but the horse will be treated the same for all.   
Equine Influenza is easy to treat with the horse requiring lots of rest and care.  Horses may be treated with an anti-inflammatory to reduce the fever.  He should be fed soft feed (such as soaked feeds) and soaked hay or haylage as it is easier to swallow with the horse having a sore throat.  He should be checked often to ensure he is not too hot or too cold and should be given a thick, dust free bed to sleep on.   
He should to isolated from all other horses and care should be taken to avoid spreading the disease from clothing or horse wear.  Feed supplements made for the respiratory system will help him to breathe more easily.  You should allow 6 weeks for the horse to fully recover and heal before starting to go back to normal.   
You can expect that the horse will recover within about 3 weeks although if the horse has not inproved by this point it is important to called the vet back to check up on the horse.  If there are secondary problems by this time it is important that the horse receives care from a vet and is given antibiotics to help with the extra problems.   
Once the horse has fully healed from the virus it is important to get the horse vaccinated and keep up with boosters once a year to avoid the horse getting it again.  Horses will a high risk of getting the virus such as show horses can get boosters multiple times per year.   




The Rider's Reins 

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