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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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Endangered turtles rescued from smugglers

News Story 1
 A group of endangered turtles have found a new home at London Zoo after being rescued from smugglers.

The four big-headed turtles arrived at the zoo at the end of last year, after smugglers tried to illegally import them to Canada, labelled as toys.

One of the turtles, named Lady Triệu after a Vietnamese warrioress, has moved to a new exhibit in the zoo’s reptile house. She is the only one of her kind in a UK zoo.

Big-headed turtles have such large heads that they cannot pull them back into their shells. To compensate, they have armour plating from head to tail and a very sharp beak to fend off predators. They are ranked number 18 on ZSL’s EDGE of Existence reptile list, which puts threatened species at the forefront of conservation action. Image © ZSL  

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Professor Abdul Rahman announced as keynote speaker for BVA Members’ Day 2019

Celebrated Indian vet and parasitologist Professor Abdul Rahman is set to deliver the keynote speech at BVA Members’ Day 2019.

Professor Rahman will present his insights into the human behaviour challenges of controlling zoonotic disease in his talk: ‘A One Health approach to rabies elimination in Asia’. The talk will outline efforts to gain political support for dog vaccination programmes in China, as well as the need for a collaborative approach between vets, public health, livestock and animal welfare agencies.

The event takes place on Thursday, 19 September at Brangwyn Hall, Swansea. Tickets are free but must be reserved through the BVA website as places are limited.