Equine flu: Irish racing to continue with ‘enhanced vaccination’

Measures to be maintained in bid to avoid outbreak of equine flu as Britain experienced

Irish racing’s enhanced vaccination programme comes in response to the outbreak of equine flu in Britain. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Irish racing’s enhanced vaccination programme comes in response to the outbreak of equine flu in Britain. Photograph: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

 

Irish racing’s enhanced vaccination programme against equine flu is set to continue with trainers urged to vaccinate all horses – including non-thoroughbreds – in their care.

In response to the outbreak of equine flu in Britain, which halted racing there for six days earlier this month, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board put in place measures that require horses here to have received a vaccine within eight weeks of racing.

The board confirmed on Tuesday that requirement will continue until March 15th. After that there will be a standard requirement that all horses have been vaccinated after January 18th with a Clade 1 vaccine.

The Irish Equine Centre has advised the board that enhanced measures should continue and, for them to work better, all horses in the care of trainers should be vaccinated.

“There is continued evidence of the virus circulating in France, in Ireland and in Britain, so we need to keep going with enhanced vaccination.

‘Overdramatic’

“We’ve not trying to be overdramatic, but at the same time there is a continued challenge,” said the board’s chief veterinary officer, Dr Lynn Hillyer, on Tuesday.

“A huge number of trainers have vaccinated their whole yards, but we need to get across the message that the more horses that have the extra protection, the quicker we can get back to business as usual,” she added.

The board does not have jurisdiction over non-thoroughbreds in racing stables but it is urging their vaccination as part of an overall programme.

In terms of the large numbers of Irish runners going to the upcoming Cheltenham Festival, Hillyer said: “The [British Horseracing Authority] requirements are still the same. They need swabs within 72 hours. They need a clear health cert and they need a vaccination within six months.

“Our horses are super-vaccinated if they want to run here, so they’ll obviously have that on board.”

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