Respiratory diseases are quite common in the equine sector. However, the one that causes the most financial and health problems is equine flu. To prevent your horse is suffering from this disease is the best way to counter it. Although this disease is not fatal, the rapid spread of the virus makes it almost impossible to stop it from spreading in an affected area. It has an infectious capacity of up to 30 meters.
Prevent equine flu
Vaccinating horses is the best way to avoid this disease. The moment a horse catches equine flu and has contact with other horses, the spread is very likely. The incubation period for equine flu is from one to five days. In other words, the animal can have the virus during this time without showing symptoms.
When the horse is 6 months old, you can give the first dose of the vaccine. After a month, you can then be vaccinated again. You should give an additional dose every 6 to 12 months. The necessary vaccinations depend on what the animal is exposed to and how much it interacts with horses outside its natural environment. With pregnant mares and younger horses, you need to be very careful, as it can cause miscarriage or significantly weaken the animal.
In addition, dirty stables greatly increase the risk of equine influenza and promote the spread. In other words, hygiene is crucial to avoid potential problems. You should also use different tools for each horse to prevent the spread of the disease if an animal is sick. Once a horse has been diagnosed with equine flu, you must isolate the animal to avoid infecting other horses. People treating the horses must also be sure to clean themselves before touching another animal.
The most recognizable symptom is dry cough or grunting sounds that the horse produces in an attempt to breathe better. You should also monitor the temperature, as another symptom is a temperature of about 40 degrees Celsius.
The animals may also be apathetic, have low energy and show a sudden lack of appetite. This can cause weight loss, which can be very serious in some cases. Other symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, resulting in difficulty breathing. There may also be secretions of mucus that have a greenish yellow color and secretions around the eyes, which are produced by conjunctivitis.
The horse will show signs of weakness a few days after infection, but within a week it will show obvious symptoms. You will notice slow walking and low energy, as well as isolating yourself from the group.
To treat equine flu
When the horse is isolated from the rest of the horses to avoid further infection, it is important to let the animal rest in a calm environment. This will allow the animal to fight the disease. This place should be clean and free of dust so that it does not further aggravate the horse’s breathing.
You can also use anti-inflammatory drugs to help with fever and pain. If the horse also has another infection, you should use antibiotics until it disappears. All this must of course be done in consultation with a veterinarian.
Adjusting the horse’s diet also helps to reduce any weight loss. Normal food will be difficult for the horse to swallow. Including moist food helps the horse to eat better and gives it enough energy for a quick recovery.
We recommend that you let the horse rest for 15 days after the symptoms have disappeared to avoid relapse. This way you ensure that your horse is fully recovered. Then, after a few days of physical activity, it should recover its performance and strength fully again.