Vaccinate horses against Hendra

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EQUINE Veterinarians Australia is urging horse owners to vaccinate their horses against the deadly Hendra virus following three new confirmed cases in just four weeks.

President of EVA, Dr Ben Poole, said it’s critical that horses located in and around high-risk Hendra areas are vaccinated against Hendra virus.

“Another three horses in NSW have died from this preventable disease, which poses serious health risks not just to horses, but humans as well,” Dr Poole said.

From 1994, when the virus was first identified, to August 2017, there have been 60 known Hendra incidents resulting in the death of 102 horses.

During this period, Queensland has recorded 40 incidents and NSW has had 20.

“Every one of these horses that has died because of Hendra represents one more compelling reason for horse owners to vaccinate their horses,” Dr Poole said.

“The risk this disease poses to human health is also very real and it is important that the equine community remains vigilant in protecting horses and people from Hendra,” Dr Poole said.

Since the first outbreak was recorded in 1994, there have been seven confirmed cases in people, all of whom had significant contact with horse body fluids.

Of those who tested positive for Hendra, four sadly died from the disease, including two veterinarians.

Dr Poole said the vaccine is the most effective way to minimise the risk of Hendra virus. The vaccine is fully registered by the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority.

“Vaccination is the most effective way to ensure high standards of horse health and welfare while also protecting veterinarians, horse handlers and owners from contracting this deadly virus.

“Hendra virus is impossible to diagnose without laboratory testing. The signs of this disease can be extremely variable. When your horse is vaccinated against Hendra virus, the probability of your horse having the disease is extremely low and therefore is more likely to receive timely and appropriate therapies.

“We need to remember that right across the country, there are thousands of equine events every year. These events bring together a large number of horses from a wide range of geographical locations, and this compounds the risks associated with Hendra virus infection if horses have not been vaccinated,” Dr Poole said. read more…

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#Dog Flu Vaccine – Should your pup get it?

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At St. Francis Pet Resort in Williamsburg, which is adjacent to Godspeed, they are taking a proactive approaching to vaccination. It was the first facility in the area to mandate that all dogs get the flu vaccine, and they strongly recommend it for all dogs coming into the hospital as well.

“Our main priority is to be advocates for pets,” said Kelly O’Connor, the Hospital Administrator. “We want the community to know it’s our responsibility to educate them on diseases.”

“Animals are so much more socialized than they used to be,” Dumont added. “They go to the Farmers Market, to doggy daycare. Here in Colonial Williamsburg, people bring dogs from all over the country.”

That leaves a lot of room for virus transmission, especially since the virus is highly contagious. It is transmitted through coughing, sneezing, through shared bowls, blankets or toys, any kind of organic debris, and mostly, human contact. Although people can’t get the dog flu, “We are the most common spreaders,” Bourgeois said.

Dumont said that active dogs are actually most at risk because they tend to breathe harder, allowing the virus to settle into their lungs faster, creating mucus that then morphs into a cough.

Many people will mistake the flu for kennel cough, or Bordetella, since the two conditions share other symptoms, including lethargy and fever. “The way to determine the difference is through a culture,” Dumont said.

If dogs have the flu, they just have to wait it out, generally for a few weeks. They shed the virus for 24 days.

The vaccine that both Dumont and Ertugrul administer is Merck’s bivalent vaccine — meaning it covers both the H3N8 strain, as well as the H3N2.

It’s given in two doses, two weeks apart. Dogs are fully immunized after the second vaccine, Bourgeois said. They also recommend that dogs repeat the vaccine annually when they receive their booster shots.

“At this point, we don’t have any contra-indications for older dogs being vaccinated,” she added. “After the first dose of core vaccines for puppies, it’s safe to give the vaccine.” Read more…

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