Following the deaths of two horses infected with the Hendra virus in Queensland the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) reminds horse owners to take precautions around any sick horse.
With the unprecedented number of Hendra virus cases in Queensland and New South Wales last year, the AVA expects more cases in the next few months.
AVA spokesman Dr Barry Smyth said that the new cases were a reminder to horse owners to take all necessary precautions that reduce the risk of spreading the disease.
“It’s a timely reminder for horse owners to prevent contact between horses and flying foxes as far as possible and to adopt good hygiene practices when handling any sick horse. It’s also important to contact a veterinarian as soon as possible when your horse is sick,” he added.
“Although so far the virus has appeared predominantly in Queensland, there have also been cases in New South Wales and in theory it’s possible that Hendra could appear anywhere in Australia at any time.
“Personal protective equipment and clothing are critical to reducing the risk of contracting and spreading the disease.
“The AVA welcomed the Queensland government’s investment of one million dollars over four years to allow private vets to claim for personal protective equipment used while investigating suspected Hendra virus cases, however we call on other state governments to step in with similar programs to help prevent Hendra infections in people.
“These two recent cases also demonstrate the urgency of a Hendra vaccine for horses and the AVA believes all horses should be vaccinated against the disease. Horse vaccination and microchipping will give veterinarians, horse owners and handlers a high level of protection against Hendra virus” said Dr Smyth.
For further information and requests for interviews contact the AVA media office on (02) 9431 5062, 0439 628 898 or email@example.com.
The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the national professional association of veterinary surgeons in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 5000 members working in all areas of animal science, health and welfare.