Since flu season is upon us, have you considered taking the flu shot? Perhaps your horse needs one too? Equine influenza can become quite dangerous if not ‘treated’ properly. So if you suspect your horse may be coming down with the common horse flu, pay close attention.
Horse flu has many of the same symptoms as ‘human flu’ with a few extra nasty symptoms you may need to end up treating if the flu turns into something more serious.
- Muscle pain
- Dry cough
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Clear nasal discharge
- High body temperature - 39-41º C
- Clear eye discharge
- Loss of appetite
If not treated properly at this stage, it could turn into:
- Heart and liver complications
- Death in foals due to pneumonia.
- Type-A influenza virus
- Airborne, spreading from horse to horse
- Lack of vaccination
Unfortunately, there is no way to kill the virus once it’s taken hold of your equine friend, but you can ensure your horse gets plenty of rest and fluids.
- 6 weeks of rest, especially for endurance horses and those in the racing industry
- Stable in a clean and ventilated area, to hinder virus ‘breeding’
- Antibiotics for secondary infections
- Keep them out of bad weather, preferably in the shade
- Anti-inflammatories for a fever above 40ºC
- Walk them for short periods of time to assist with circulation
- Plenty of fresh air
- Add nutritional tonics to your horse’s diet, such as Pharlap and Invigor 8 Part A & Part B to boost your horse's immune system and improve their nutritional intake, especially if there’s a loss of appetite.
- You may even want to add an equine natural calmative such as Rigly Equicalm to keep your horse relaxed during the resting stage.
So if you notice any of the above-mentioned symptoms, rather be safe than sorry by contacting your local veterinarian to have a look at your horse before the mild symptoms turn into something worse. It’s no fun dealing with the flu, for both human and equine; so get plenty of rest, treat yourself and your horse to a few healthy treats and make sure you keep an eye on those runny noses to prevent them from turning into unfortunate events.