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Horse racing body changes flu vaccination rules
Earlier this year, a number of influenza outbreaks were confirmed in vaccinated racehorses across the country, prompting races to be cancelled for nearly a week.
Eight months to become the new standard for vaccine renewal

Racehorses will need to be vaccinated against equine influenza every eight months from 2020, under new rules introduced after a series of disease outbreaks earlier this year.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) introduced a temporary measure in February, requiring all horses in training to have a booster vaccination every six months. Boosters were previously required only once a year.

The decision came after a number of influenza outbreaks in vaccinated racehorses across the country, prompting all races to be cancelled for nearly a week. Vets at the Animal Health Trust revealed that a new strain of equine influenza - Florida Clade 1 H3N8 - was responsible for the outbreaks.

Whilst cases were identified in vaccinated horses, the current vaccine offers a greater degree of protection than previously thought, particularly when a booster has been recently administered. Vaccinated horses show milder symptoms and recover more quickly, the trust says.

The BHA’s veterinary committee recommended six months as the optimum period for vaccine renewal, however the BHA said it has taken trainers’ views into account that this may result in horses being vaccinated during their racing seasons. As a compromise, eight months will become the new standard from 1 January 2020.

In the meantime, from 1 May 2019, horses presented at racecourses will need to have been vaccinated against equine influenza within the past nine months.

BHA also announced that from 1 May, British-trained runners from licensed yards will no longer require a health declaration form to be submitted on arrival at the racecourse. International runners and Hunter Chasers from unlicensed yards will still be required to provide the declaration and a negative result for equine influenza, no more than 72 hours prior to arrival at the racecourse.

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Veterinary Evidence Student Awards winners revealed

News Story 1
 The first winners of the RCVS Knowledge Veterinary Evidence Student Awards have been revealed.

Molly Vasanthakumar scooped first prize for her knowledge summary comparing the ecological impact of woven versus disposable drapes. She found that there is not enough evidence that disposable synthetics reduce the risk of surgical site.

Second prize went to Honoria Brown of the University of Cambridge, for her paper: ‘Can hoof wall temperature and digital pulse pressure be used as sensitive non-invasive diagnostic indicators of acute laminitis onset?’

Edinburgh’s Jacqueline Oi Ping Tong won third prize for critically appraising the evidence for whether a daily probiotic improved clinical outcomes in dogs with idiopathic diarrhoea. The papers have all achieved publication in RCVS Knowledge’s peer-reviewed journal, Veterinary Evidence.  

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News Shorts
Animal Welfare Foundation seeks new trustees

The Animal Welfare Foundation (AWF) seeks three new trustees to help drive the charity’s mission to improve animal welfare through veterinary science, education and debate.

Veterinary and animal welfare professionals from across the UK may apply, particularly those with experience in equine and small animal practice and research management. Trustees must attend at least two meetings a year, as well as the annual AWF Discussion Forum in London.

For more information about the role, visit www.animalwelfarefoundation.org.uk. Applications close at midnight on 13 August 2019.