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New strain of equine flu responsible for outbreaks, AHT confirms
AHT recommends that all horses are revaccinated if the booster was given more than six months ago.
Florida Clade 1 H3N8 in circulation in the UK

A new strain of equine influenza is responsible for the recent outbreaks in vaccinated horses, the Animal Health Trust (AHT) has confirmed.

In its latest update, published on Monday (18 February), the trust said there had been 29 outbreaks in 17 counties across England and Scotland.

This heightened number of cases is down the the newly identified Florida Clade 1 H3N8.

Outbreaks in race horses prompted all races to be cancelled across Great Britain for nearly a week earlier this month.

The AHT, which is continuing to test samples, said the current vaccine offers a greater degree of protection that was initially thought when outbreaks began to occur in Europe. This is particularly true when a booster has recently been administered.

Vaccinated horses experience milder symptoms and recover faster than unvaccinated horses. The trust recommends that all horses are revaccinated if the booster was given more than six months ago.

AHT has come up with five protocols to help reduce the number of outbreaks:
  • Vaccinate: Horses should receive a booster if they were vaccinated more than six months ago. Unvaccinated horses will need to start a course of vaccinations.
  • Isolate: Immediately isolate new or unwell horses from the main yard. Be aware of biosecurity measures.
  • Investigate: Speak to organisers about biosecurity measures at any events or equine gatherings before deciding to attend.
  • Communicate: Be open about any suspected or confirmed cases to prevent the spread of disease.
  • Mitigate: Gather as much information as possible to mitigate the risk of attending an event or moving a horse.

 

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Huge spike in ‘designer’ dogs going into rescue

News Story 1
 The RSPCA has reported a huge spike in the number of ‘designer’ dogs arriving into its care.

Figures published by the charity show there has been a 517 per cent increase in the number of French bulldogs arriving into its kennels. During that time, the charity has also seen an increase in dachshunds, chihuahuas, and crossbreeds.

RSPCA dog welfare expert Lisa Hens said: “We know that the breeds of dog coming into our care often reflect the trends in dog ownership in the wider world and, at the moment, it doesn’t get more trendy than ‘designer’ dogs like French bulldogs and Dachshunds."

 

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AHDB Pork calls for stepped-up biosecurity

Pig farmers are being urged to step up biosecurity to reduce the risk of swine dysentery in their herds.

According to Farmers Weekly, AHDB Pork have confirmed cases in the north and east of the UK and is calling on producers to focus on hygiene to protect their animals.

Members of the AHDB Pork Significant diseases charter are reported to have been informed of the outbreaks.