Two Ohio Horses Confirmed With Equine Influenza

Attending veterinarians have confirmed two horses at two separate Hamilton County facilities with equine influenza (EI). The first case, a 10-year-old Peruvian Paso at a private facility, experienced onset of clinical signs on June 6. The gelding, which had been vaccinated on Feb. 26, showed signs that included cough and fever. He was confirmed positive on June 9 and is reported as affected and alive. Three additional horses at his facility were exposed.

The second case, a 9-year-old vaccinated Thoroughbred mare reported as recovering, first experienced signs on June 7. Signs included cough and mucopurulent discharge. She was confirmed positive on June 15, with 20 more cases suspected and two additional horses exposed at the farm. A voluntary quarantine has been placed on all horses at her farm.

About Equine Influenza

Equine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease that infects horses, ponies, and other equids, such as donkeys, mules, and zebras. The virus that causes it is spread via saliva and respiratory secretions from infected horses. Horses are commonly exposed via horse-to-horse contact; aerosol transmission from coughing and sneezing; and contact with human’s contaminated hands, shoes, or clothes or contaminated tack, buckets, or other equipment.

Clinical signs of equine influenza infection can include a high fever (up to 106°F); a dry, hacking cough; depression; weakness; anorexia; serous (watery) nasal discharge; and slightly enlarged lymph nodes. Consider monitoring your horse’s health at shows by taking his temperature daily, which can help you pick up on signs of infection early and take appropriate measures to reduce disease spread.

Vaccination is an important and inexpensive way to protect your horse. US Equestrian requires proof that horses have had an equine influenza vaccination within the six months prior to attending organization-sanctioned competitions or events. Your veterinarian can help you determine what other vaccines your horse might benefit from.

In addition to vaccinating, following strict biosecurity protocols can help reduce your horse’s chance of infection and disease. Such measures include quarantining new equine arrivals at barns, disinfecting buckets and equipment, and preventing nose-to-nose contact between horses.