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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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Regional Representatives nominations sought

News Story 1
 Seven new regional representatives are being sought by the British Veterinary Association (BVA) to speak for vets from those regions and to represent their views to BVA Council.

The opportunities are available in in the North-East, Yorkshire & Humber, East Midlands, West Midlands, London, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Representatives from all sectors of the veterinary profession are urged to apply.

BVA president Daniella Dos Santos, said: "Our regional representatives are integral to that mission and to the activities of Council - contributing to effective horizon scanning on matters of veterinary policy and providing an informed steer to BVA’s Policy Committee.” 

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News Shorts
Livestock Antibody Hub receives funding boost

The Pirbright Institute has received US $5.5 million from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to form a Livestock Antibody Hub aimed at supporting animal and human health. The work will bring together researchers from across the UK utilise research outcomes in livestock disease and immunology.

Dr Doug Brown, chief executive of the British Society for Immunology, commented: “The UK is a world leader in veterinary immunology research, and this transformative investment from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will drive the next chapter of innovation in developing new treatments and prevention options against livestock diseases".