This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.
You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.
Flu is a serious disease in horses mainly because it is so highly infectious and because of the devastating effect that it can have on a horses performance
Signs of flu in horses are a cough and a mild fever, but in working horses their athletic performance can be severely affected, so preventative vaccination against the disease is very important, and it is mandatory for many competing horses and ponies such as those competing under Jockey Club Rules.
Like flu in humans and other species one form of the virus that causes flu (in the case of horses it is mainly Orthomyxoviridae Type A virus) has many strains and the different vaccines that are available contain different strains of the virus.
In the UK the following virus strains are contained in the vaccines listed below *
* Source Compendium of Data Sheets for Veterinary Products 2000-2001 Published by NOAH.
All the viruses in these vaccines are inactivated - which means they should not cause serious signs of flu as a side-effect. These vaccines are also available combined with tetanus vaccine giving protection against the two diseases in one vaccination.
Equine Flu vaccines should be given as follows :
Side-effects and reactions to the vaccine do occur from time to time including :
Unfortunately other viruses can also cause equine influenza, and of course these vaccines do not provide protection - so a vaccinated horse or pony can still develop flu due to other viruses even if it is fully vaccinated.
Like most vaccines there are certain circumstances under which the vaccine may fail to produce an adequate amount of immunity in an individual horse or pony, including the following :
Local circumstances vary, and your veterinarian will advise you about the most appropriate vaccine for your horse or pony, and when best to give the vaccine and boosters.
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