First Intranasal Equine Influenza Vaccine Introduced

After over five years of research and development, Heska Corporation is set to launch Flu Avert I.N. vaccine, the first modified-live virus, intranasal equine influenza vaccine. The proprietary vaccine and intranasal applicator will provide

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After over five years of research and development, Heska Corporation is set to launch Flu Avert I.N. vaccine, the first modified-live virus, intranasal equine influenza vaccine. The proprietary vaccine and intranasal applicator will provide veterinarians with a unique and effective tool to aid in the prevention of equine influenza. The product will be available for veterinary use following USDA approval, which is expected later this year.


Most upper respiratory viral infections in horses are attributed to equine influenza, specifically A equine 2 strains. Killed virus vaccines have not proven to be as effective as once thought, even in horses vaccinated as frequently as six times a year. To address the problem, scientists and veterinarians from major universities collaborated with Heska’s research team to develop and test Flu Avert I.N. vaccine.


Studies involving more than 450 horses at locations across North America have been conducted to verify both the safety and efficacy of Flu Avert I.N. vaccine. In challenge studies to test efficacy, seronegative horses were vaccinated with Flu Avert I.N. vaccine, then exposed to extremely virulent strains of the most common flu viruses, including Kentucky 98, Kentucky 91, and the Eurasian Saskatoon 90. Veterinarians then observed the horses daily for clinical signs of infection, including cough, fever, nasal discharge, poor appetites and depression. These studies have shown Flu Avert I.N. vaccine provided complete protection for 3 months and significantly reduced clinical signs for up to one year post vaccination.


“We believe the ability of Flu Avert I.N. vaccine to protect from challenge is unprecedented,” noted Dr. David Robinson, equine medical and technical consultation veterinarian for Heska Corporation. “The results are particularly impressive given that some conventional injectable flu vaccines have been known to fail within 30 days

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Written by:

Stephanie L. Church, Editorial Director, grew up riding and caring for her family’s horses in Central Virginia and received a B.A. in journalism and equestrian studies from Averett University. She joined The Horse in 1999 and has led the editorial team since 2010. A 4-H and Pony Club graduate, she enjoys dressage, eventing, and trail riding with her former graded-stakes-winning Thoroughbred gelding, It Happened Again (“Happy”). Stephanie and Happy are based in Lexington, Kentucky.

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