Australian Horse Owners: Vaccinate Against Hendra

Animal health officials say vaccination is the most effective way of reducing the risk of Hendra infection in horses.

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The New South Wales, Australia, Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is encouraging Australian owners to vaccinate their horses against Hendra virus.

Last week, an unvaccinated horse had to be euthanized at a property near Lismore, after samples from the horse tested positive to Hendra virus.

The DPI’s Chief Veterinary Officer Christine Middlemiss, BVMS, MRCVS, said it is imperative that owners take all steps they possibly can to reduce the chances of their horses becoming infected with Hendra virus, which is transmitted to horses from flying foxes, a type of fruit bat that frequents Australia. The exact method of transmission remains unclear, however.

“Horse owners should discuss a vaccination strategy with their private veterinarian, as vaccination remains the most effective way of reducing the risk of Hendra virus infection in horses,” Middlemiss said. “Vaccinating your horse also protects your animals, and you and your family

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