Ontario gelding positive for equine influenza

The horse lives at a boarding facility in Brant County, where 18 horses are exposed.

On February 1, a 17-year-old Quarter Horse gelding at a boarding facility in Brant County, Ontario, was confirmed positive for equine influenza. The horse developed clinical signs on January 27, including a cough, fever and nasal discharge. He is now recovering. 

Two other horses on the property had transient fevers, and one began coughing and developed nasal discharge; they are suspected positive. Eighteen total horses are potentially exposed. The farm manager has implemented voluntary movement restrictions and infection control procedures. 

EDCC Health Watch is an Equine Network marketing program that utilizes information from the Equine Disease Communication Center (EDCC) to create and disseminate verified equine disease reports. The EDCC is an independent nonprofit organization that is supported by industry donations in order to provide open access to infectious disease information.

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 humans’ 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.

Click here to read common questions and answers about equine influenza. 

Brought to you by Boehringer Ingelheim, The Art of the Horse

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