When you are the owner or caretaker of horses, there are a handful of illnesses and diseases that can come up and cause concern. However, one of the more worrisome problems with equestrian health is equine influenza. Similar to flu versions that can affect humans, equine influenza is one of the most contagious illnesses. If just one of your horses contracts the flu, it is highly likely that every other horse that is in the stable will as well. With such a threatening reputation, there are bound to be some big misconceptions when it comes to equine influenza. Here are a few of the most common misconceptions about the horse flu and the facts you should know.
Misconception: Giving your horse the equestrian influenza vaccine will cause adverse reactions.
Fact: If you have avoided having your horses vaccinated for influenza because you believe the immunization will make them sick, you should know that this is actually a false assumption. Only about one out of every 1000 horses will have any adverse reaction to the immunization for equestrian influenza. Horses that have just been vaccinated must wait seven days before racing to allow their body to build up an antibody to the virus but will rarely have any adverse symptoms from the treatment.
Misconception: Equestrian influenza is easy to treat.
Fact: You may assume that if your horse does fall ill with equine influenza, all that will be required is a trip to the vet and some antibiotics. However the symptoms of this illness can be extremely severe and come about rapidly. Horses that are not vaccinated can suffer from permanent damage to their heart and lungs even if you do seek treatment right away. Plus, not all strands of equine influenza are exactly alike, which makes treating the illness even more of a challenge for veterinarians.
Misconception: Equine influenza can only affect your horses.
Fact: Equine influenza can actually have an effect on several types of animals. Greyhound dogs at a racetrack in Florida developed some respiratory difficulties in 2004, and it was soon determined that many of the dogs were suffering with a strand of equine influenza. Additionally, camels, donkeys, and mules can be affected by the illness. It is also believed that the virus is related to the same flu versions that are derived from aquatic birds. So if you have a horse that does have the illness, it is best to exercise precautions with all of the animals on your property.
For more information, contact Edisto Equine Clinic or a similar location.