There’s nothing like firsthand experience and four University of Queensland are receiving an immersion course in equine infectious disease management. They’ve been locked down at an FEI World Cup-qualifier three-day event in Warwick, QLD for the past week or so.
Left to right: Paula Thomas, Jane Pollitt, Chelsea Salisbury, and Jessica Peters study disease control and epidemiology at college, but their weekend competition blurred the lines between study and sport.
Equine Influenza (EI) swept through Australia last week, following an outbreak first recorded at this competition. The government of Australia banned movement of horses in the entire nation to attempt to stem the outbreak. Horses at shows and sales and rodeos stayed right where they were. So did the people.
According to the official web site for the event, 90 percent of the 300 horses entered in the event are now infected and, with just a few to go, there is a sense that they can soon start the countdown to ending the time in lockdown. The current belief is that the horses will be released 30 days from the last infection.
Thankfully the horses are not too bad with the illness and most are responding to anti-inflammatories with very few developing secondary infection at this stage.
Jane Pollitt, daughter of well-known laminitis researcher Dr. Chris Pollitt, is holding her Australian stock horse “Wistari Washington”. At the time the photo was taken, Washington had not developed clinical signs of the flu but was expected to the following day.
Thanks to Dr Pollitt for the photo. Learn more about his research at www.laminitisresearch.org.