Managing the flu vaccine shortage

The shortage of equine flu vaccine across Europe looks set to continue into October, according to the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA).

This is obviously a great concern for horse owners – not least at Remus Horse Sanctuary, where many of our residents are more vulnerable due to their condition and sometimes unknown vaccination status.

However, the British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) has offered some guidance for horse owners, depending on their risk level.

Those horses most at risk are adult horses that mix regularly with other horses, and young horses under the age of four who have an incomplete vaccination history.

BEVA recommends that if your horse is in a low risk category – fully vaccinated and not mixing with others – you could defer the vaccination by up to three months, in consultation with your vet of course, ensuring that you follow up with a booster within nine months. Your vet must update the horse’s passport with the relevant information.

If your horse competes under the British Horse Society (including British Riding Clubs), the Pony Club, Riding for the Disabled Association, Association of British Riding Schools and The Showing Council they will still be allowed to enter competitions if you defer for three months and then get the nine-month booster. Again, vets must mark and sign passports documenting the delay.

Other competition organisations have put in place a temporary exemption on the requirement for boosters within six months of a competition.

You can find full details of risk categories and exemptions for competitions at: www.yourhorse.co.uk/news/eqine-flu-vaccine-shortage-advice

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