Influenza exposure is inevitable: Help prevent the flu and support health.

Equine Influenza Virus (EIV) is an extremely contagious disease of horses and it is considered to be one of the most important viral respiratory pathogens of equines. Unlike Human Influenza which has a seasonal risk, Equine Influenza does not, so it is important to make sure your horse is vaccinated yearly as well as before it is an increased risk for exposure to the virus. Working with your Veterinarian to determine the optimum vaccination schedule will help to protect your horse year round against Equine Influenza.

In fact, you likely already take measures to lower your horse’s risk of contracting the virus, but even half a football field away may still not be far enough to safely protect them from exposure. Dr. Kevin Hankins, DVM, MBA, Managing Equine Veterinarian at Zoetis shares that equine influenza is a preventable disease that primarily affects traveling horses as well as both young and older horses.

Why does equine influenza spread so quickly?

Equine influenza virus (EIV), commonly known as the flu, is highly contagious and capable of traveling 150 feet through the air.1 Meaning, your horse can be exposed to equine influenza across the distance of a football field—it is transmitted rapidly from horse to horse over long distances and can survive on hands, clothing, brushes, buckets, stall walls, feed troughs, trailers and more. Flu infects the respiratory tract, including the cilia, which keep debris out of horses’ lungs. When the cilia fail to keep bacteria from the airway, your horse is at risk of a secondary bacterial infection, making EIV even more devastating.

Your horse can be exposed to equine influenza across the distance of half a football field.
1 Equine Disease Communication Center. Equine influenza disease factsheet. Accessed October 22, 2022.

What are the prominent risk factors?

Any horse that travels is at risk of exposure to developing a fever, coughing and nasal discharge from equine influenza. An EIV infection can cause lengthy time off for the horse and this infectious disease can be life-threatening if left untreated.

Dr. Hankins importantly emphasizes, “It is essential for horse owners to learn how easily EIV is transmitted. It helps you understand the risks you’re taking if your horse isn’t vaccinated.”

Vaccinate to provide broad protection against EIV risks

Adult horses, in general, should be vaccinated annually against EIV, and those with increased exposure risks should be vaccinated every six months. Vaccination with Fluvac Innovator® provides protection against EIV, even with the many ways it can spread.

Equine immunization support guarantee

The Gluck Equine Research Center has performed research since 2018 showing Fluvac Innovator was successfully evaluated against 66 equine influenza virus strains isolated from 30 states, Canada and Europe.2-6 This commitment to monitoring and maintaining an immunologically current vaccine has made Fluvac Innovator the most trusted EIV vaccine available.7 Tested against current flu strains in the U.S., Fluvac Innovator is also backed by the Zoetis Equine Immunization Support Guarantee. Zoetis will support up to $5,000 for reasonable diagnostic and treatment costs if your horse is properly vaccinated by a veterinarian and contracts the corresponding equine disease.

For more information regarding the Zoetis Equine Immunization Support Guarantee, visit: for more information.

Preventative care to help protect the horse you love

Dr. Hankins advises horse owners to talk with their veterinarian about vaccinating against this common but costly disease. “Having the foresight now to take preventative steps is one of the wisest investments you can make today for your horse.”

[More like this: Is it flu season for horses, too?]


  1. Equine Disease Communication Center. Equine influenza disease factsheet. Accessed October 22, 2022.
  2. Dilai M, et al. Serological investigation of racehorse vaccination against equine influenza in Morocco. Veterinary Microbiology. 223.2018. 153-159.
  3. Zoetis Inc. Data on file. Study report no. 18EQRGBIO-01-02.
  4. Zoetis Inc. Data on file. Study report no. 19EQRGBIO-01-02.
  5. Zoetis Inc. Data on file. Study report no. 21EQRGBIO-01-01.
  6. Zoetis Inc. Data on file. Study report no. 22EQRGBIO-01-01.
  7. The Fluvac Innovator line had the most doses sold of all equine influenza vaccine lines on the market. Animalytix Segment Data, Equine Vaccines, MAT September 2021 (accessed November 14, 2022).

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