Oregon Horse Confirmed to Have Equine Influenza

Five other horses on the Deschutes County property are suspected positive, and 10 have been exposed.
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Deschutes County, Oregon
An attending veterinarian has confirmed a 5-year-old gelding is positive for equine influenza (EI) at a private facility in Deschutes County, Oregon. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons
An attending veterinarian has confirmed a 5-year-old gelding is positive for equine influenza (EI) at a private facility in Deschutes County, Oregon. The undervaccinated pleasure riding pony began showing signs of fever, cough, inappetence, and nasal discharge on April 4 and tested positive for EI on April 12.

The facility has isolated the pony and enacted a voluntarily quarantine of the property. Five other horses are suspected to be EI-positive, and 10 horses have been exposed.

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.

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The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care is an equine publication providing the latest news and information on the health, care, welfare, and management of all equids.

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