Published: Fri, February 08, 2019
Medicine | By Brett Sutton

British Horseracing Authority cancels all United Kingdom races after outbreak of equine flu

British Horseracing Authority cancels all United Kingdom races after outbreak of equine flu

The British Horseracing Authority said that no new positive cases have been received since it announced early Thursday (NZT) that three vaccinated horses in an active racing yard had flu.

It takes about a week for the equine flu virus to live and die, so the BHA are clearly hoping that a week with no movement of horses will contain the outbreak.

In the wake of last night's announcement of the flu outbreak, all of Thursday's meetings in the United Kingdom, at Ffos Las, Doncaster, Huntingdon and Chelmsford, were cancelled.

Donald McCain's three infected horses had all been vaccinated against equine influenza.

Equine influenza is a highly infectious disease of horses, mules and donkeys.

Symptoms to be aware of range from an increased temperature, coughing and nasal discharge and the horse being off feed to more severe respiratory signs - your veterinary surgeon should be contacted for advice under current circumstances if these signs are present.

'The BHA is working closely with the Animal Health Trust and will issue a further update tomorrow.

But it added that "at least three more days are required before it will be possible to make a decision about whether it is safe to resume racing".

Trainer Donald McCain looks on ahead of the Cheltenham Festival during a media open day at his Bankhouse Stables on February 26, 2013 in Cholmondeley, Cheshire.

ITV Racing, which had been due to cover both Newbury's valuable meeting and significant races at Warwick this weekend, said it will instead show five races from Naas in Ireland.

As an interim precaution, the IHRB and HRI have decided that runners from Britain will not be permitted to run in Ireland in an effort to reduce the risk of further spread of the disease via horse movement.Horses will continue to be able to race across the north/south of the island of Ireland.

It's not usually fatal if the infected horse is healthy and fully grown, however foals, pregnant mares, and horses who are already sickly are particularly vulnerable to equine flu, and could die as a result of exposure to the disease.

McCain said: "We are scrupulous about observing the health status of horses in our care and taking the necessary steps to treat any condition that may affect them".

"When new horses arrive at our yard we try as much as possible to keep them separate, but at this stage can not know if the infection came from recent arrivals or from horses returning from racing". Other stables around the United Kingdom are in lockdown for testing by vets.

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