Apr 18, 2018

Staying Ahead of Equine Influenza

By Bryant Craig DVM - Merck Animal Health

This educational article is brought to you by Merck Animal Health, the Official Animal Health Care Provider of the USEA. 

Runny nose, fever, cough, fatigue. It’s flu season. Winter and early spring is the most active time of year for equine influenza, so it’s an important time to vaccinate your horse. And like human flu vaccines, equine flu vaccines must periodically be updated to protect against the strains currently circulating in the field and threatening horses.

Equine Flu – More Common Than You Think

Equine influenza virus (EIV) is one of the most common infectious upper respiratory diseases in the horse. It is widespread in the equine population of the United States and throughout most of the world. Equine influenza spreads rapidly with clinical signs appearing within 24 to 72 hours following exposure and can be transmitted more than 50 yards through the air by a coughing horse. Indirect transmission can occur via hands, clothing and common use articles such as brushes, buckets, ropes and bits. In an unvaccinated horse population that has never been exposed to the virus, EIV has a nearly 100 percent infection rate.

Outbreaks occur most frequently when susceptible horses are transported to showgrounds, sales or similar events and then housed in close quarters. Stress associated with travel and increased exposure to other horses and environments can increase a horse’s susceptibility to EIV.

Combatting Today’s Threat

Influenza viruses are constantly changing at the molecular level as they pass from one host to another. This process, known as antigenic drift, leads to new virus strains that a horse’s immune system may not recognize. Due to the changes that can occur with EIV, it is paramount to use effective vaccines with relevant strains to aid in providing the best protection against viruses currently circulating.

Merck Animal Health has been conducting an ongoing 10-year respiratory surveillance program to monitor the incidence of infectious respiratory disease, identify current circulating strains of virus, and evaluate efficacy of current vaccines. Through this program, a new highly infectious and relevant equine influenza strain was identified. It is the foundation of the next generation of Prestige® flu-containing killed virus vaccines from Merck Animal Health, which represent the most current equine influenza protection available for your horse.

Merck Animal Health’s flu-containing vaccines now include this highly relevant clade 1 strain, as well as clade 2 protection – as recommended by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Expert Surveillance Panel on Equine Influenza and American Association of Equine Practitioners. Clade 1 strains of equine influenza primarily circulate in the United States, while clade 2 predominantly circulates in Europe. Although there have been no clade 2 influenza outbreaks in the U.S., clade 2 protection is considered an additional safeguard for horses that travel internationally.

Protection that matters for your horse

An influenza diagnosis is not only miserable for your horse, but it can also mean weeks or even months of lost time in the saddle for you. Horses require at least a week of rest for every day of fever. Don’t let equine influenza get in the way of your spring training and competition plans. Now is the time to have a discussion with your veterinarian to ensure your horse is receiving adequate influenza protection. For more information on the new updated flu vaccines from Merck Animal Health, visit www.merck-animal-health-equine.com.

Copyright © 2018 Intervet Inc., d/b/a Merck Animal Health, a subsidiary of Merck & Co., Inc.

Aug 11, 2020 Association News

What is EMS?

The future of three-day eventing is in the new USEA Event Management System (EMS)! This new software system will allow for competitors, coaches, organizers, and secretaries to have relevant event information in their hands. By using advanced technology, this new software system will be an all-encompassing tool used to provide a well-organized, smooth competition with limited contact and instant updates.

Aug 10, 2020 Competitions

Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill off to a Great Start with Test Event

This past weekend, the footing of the new arenas at the Fair Hill Special Event Zone saw its very first hoofprints as competitors in the CCI3*-S at Fair Hill International also participated in the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill Test Event. The new Fair Hill Special Event Zone, which has been specially designed with the Maryland 5 Star at Fair Hill in mind, consists of three brand-new arenas on the infield of the recently upgraded iconic turf track and a new cross-country course designed by Ian Stark.

Aug 10, 2020 Education

How Strong is Your Novice Game?

How competitive have your Novice results been? What’s a good final score? What’s a good dressage score? What does it take to win? In our third installment of this series, EquiRatings showcases the Novice level. Use these graphs and statistics to help evaluate your Novice game.

Aug 10, 2020 Eventing News

Event Cancellations and Responses to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

This article will be updated to include statements as they are released from upcoming USEA recognized events regarding actions they are taking due to the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Official Corporate Sponsors of the USEA

Official Outerwear of the USEA

Official Supplement Feeding System of the USEA

Official Forage of the USEA

Official Feed of the USEA

Official Saddle of the USEA

Official Joint Therapy Treatment of the USEA

Official Equine Insurance of the USEA