Horse Influenza is also known as Equine influenza, EI, the cough, or horse flu. It is a respiratory disease that affects horses badly and affects their work. It is spread through nasal discharge and the coughing and snorting go with maximum chest infections.
It is extremely transmittable. The reactions of horses differ broadly. Some suffer only from fever and cough, while others become very sick. A horse may take a few months to recuperate completely. To know more about horse influenza, go through the following article.
Causes of Horse Influenza
As in the case of human beings; influenza in horses is caused by a virus. It spreads in a very similar manner as in the case of human beings like through airborne particles or buckets, troughs, hands, or other items that may carry the virus. The virus can multiply at a very fast rate.
Symptoms of Horse Influenza
The affected horse suffers from a high fever of about 39-41 degrees C or 103-106 degrees F. The fever lasts for about 5 days. A harsh-sounding cough may be seen. The frequency of coughing differs from horse to horse. Clear, watery nasal discharge turning yellow or green is seen when the affected horse tends to develop secondary infections. Other symptoms are a clear eye discharge, lethargy, swelling in the lower limbs, swollen lymph nodes under the jaw, loss of appetite, and depression. Very young and very old horses may have pneumonia. This can be lethal in some cases.
Effects of Horse Influenza
Horse influenza can be completely cured. Sometimes, secondary infections like pneumonia may set in and may cause lung or heart damage.
Treatment of Horse Influenza
Provide affected horses with a clean, comfortable, and dust-free environment. Stop making him work or else his respiratory system will worsen. Allow him to rest and feed him with hay particularly to lessen the threat of bacterial infections of the lungs and airways. Light exercise may facilitate in encouraging good circulation, digestion, and drainage of fluids.
If the horse’s fever is over 40 degrees C or 104 degrees F; an anti-inflammatory drug may be prescribed by a veterinarian. In case the fever lasts for more than three or four days or when the horse is suffering from pneumonia or purulent nasal discharge antibiotics may be prescribed. When the horse shows signs of recovery, very gradually increases his workload.
Prevention of Horse Influenza
Horse influenza can be best prevented by vaccination. Good stable hygiene must be maintained. This can be done by sterilizing feed tubs, buckets, and other equipment. To prevent the virus from being spread wash your hands properly before caring for the horses.
It is highly infectious and can cause the horse to be off work for some weeks. His return to full work should be slow and progressive. The veterinary surgeon should be called as antibiotic injections may be necessary to discourage secondary, bacterial infection. The risk of catching equine influenza can now be greatly reduced.
A highly efficient vaccine is available; at present two doses are given with an interval of six weeks between them, thereafter protection is given by a single dose once a year. Great care must be taken to ensure that the veterinarian’s advice is strictly carried out about exercise in the period immediately following the inoculations.
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