Two horses from Alabama infected with flu
Two horses from Alabama infected with flu

Equine influenza has been confirmed in two horses at a clinic in Madison County, Alabama, and six more cases are suspected.
Two horses at a clinic in Madison County, Alabama, have been infected with equine influenza, and six more cases are suspected. | Adobe Stock

Two horses at an equine clinic in Madison County, Alabama, recently tested positive for equine influenza. Six additional cases are suspected and 30 horses have been exposed to the virus. The affected horses are under quarantine.

EDCC Health Watch is an Equine Network marketing program that uses information from the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) to create and disseminate verified reports on equine diseases. EDCC is an independent, nonprofit organization supported by industry donations to provide open access to information about infectious diseases.

About equine influenza

Equine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory disease that affects horses, ponies and other equids such as donkeys, mules and zebras. The virus that causes the disease is transmitted through saliva and respiratory secretions of infected horses. Horses are commonly infected by horse-to-horse contact, by aerosol transmission through coughing and sneezing, and by contact with contaminated human hands, shoes or clothing or contaminated tack, buckets or other equipment.

Clinical signs of equine influenza infection may include high fever (up to 41°C), dry, barking cough, depression, weakness, anorexia, serous (watery) nasal discharge, and slightly enlarged lymph nodes. Monitor your horse’s health at shows by taking his temperature daily. This will help you detect signs of infection early and take appropriate measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

​Vaccinations are an important and cost-effective way to protect your horse. US Equestrian requires proof that horses have received equine influenza vaccination within six months prior to participating in organization-sanctioned competitions or events. Your veterinarian can help you determine what other vaccinations your horse might benefit from.

In addition to vaccination, following strict biosecurity protocols can help reduce your horse’s risk of infection and disease. These measures include quarantining new horse arrivals in stables, disinfecting buckets and equipment, and avoiding nose-to-nose contact between horses.

Click here to read frequently asked questions and answers about equine influenza.

By Aurora