Caring for Sick Horses
Caring for sick Horses
Equine influenza is a highly contagious disease. Some horses have worse symptoms than others. If you suspect your horse has EI you should inform your vet straight away.
Foals, stallions, pregnant mares and older horses are most vulnerable to Equine Influenza. Foals will deteriorate quickly if they contract the virus and EI can be very dangerous to stallions of can even kill unborn foals.
It is important to match the treatment to the severity of the horse’s symptoms. There are many different treatments to reduce the symptoms of the horse flu, although there is currently no treatment for the entire disease.
Managing horses with EI
A horse that has contracted Equine Influenza needs plenty of rest! This reduces the risk of secondary infection (most likely pneumonia) and speeds up the recovery. Isolate the horse in a well-insulated environment and keep the feed as dust free as possible. This may be done by wetting down the feed or changing the feed type. Any major changes to the horse’s diet should be gradual to avoid gastrointestinal upsets. Any feed that the sick horse does not eat must be discarded. Placing the feed-bucket on the ground assists in clearing fluids and dust particles from the horse’s airways. Make sure you measure the horse’s temperature regularly.
Make sure you keep high standards regarding hygiene while handling any horses.
Returning horses to work
After full recovery from EI and plenty of rest, the horse must be introduced to very light exercise. This refers to walking and 15-30 minutes of trotting per day. After approximately 4 weeks the light exercise can be gradually worked up to cantering. If your horse tires easily or breathes heavily, this exercise should be reduced.