Tag Archives: British equestrian federation

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Equine Herpes Virus (EHV) – The Facts

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A recent outbreak of Neurological EHV-1 in Hampshire resulting in four fatalities to date, has led to multiple temporary yard closures in the area. As this disease affects all areas throughout the year, it seemed important to share the facts surrounding the disease. We sought advice from veterinary professionals to provide you with the most up-to-date information on the virus, its symptoms and the precautionary measures to take should you be concerned that your horse may have come into contact with the virus. 

 

Equine Herpes Virus is one of the most commonly diagnosed diseases in horses worldwide. Almost every horse will have been in contact with the virus at some stage in its life with no serious side effects, it can lay dormant in carrier horses without causing any problems. It is not yet understood what causes some infected horses to develop neurological forms which can be fatal. It is a highly contagious disease particularly affecting younger horses and in-foal mares. It is spread through both direct (nose to nose) contact, indirectly through tack, rugs, feed buckets, owners’ hands, through sharing drinking water where it can survive for up to one month, and airborne through coughing and sneezing. It is therefore vital that the correct bio security procedures are followed to prevent further spread. 

 

The Equine Herpes Virus is a family of different viruses that are closely linked to the viruses that cause cold sores, chicken pox and shingles in humans. The two most common species in horses are EHV-1, which can cause sudden abortion in in-foal mares, respiratory disease and occasionally neurologic disease; and EHV-4, which will cause respiratory disease but only rarely cause abortion and neurological disease where the infection has damaged the spinal cord, in the event of this occurring, its is generally advised that the horse is euthanized on a welfare basis.

 

Clinical signs of the disease will depend on the form of the disease but can include:

  • Fever
  • Nasal Discharge 
  • Depression
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Loss of appetite
  • Abortion
  • Loss of bladder and tail function
  • Hind limb paralysis

 

‘If you are concerned that your horse may have come in contact with herpes virus it is extremely important that you place your horse in isolation immediately for 14 days. Stringent bio-security measures are paramount. These include regular disinfection of the surrounding environment and equipment, hand washing, disinfection of boots, removal of outer clothing after seeing your horse and visiting no other horses to avoid direct and indirect contact with other horses. You should notify your vet, who will recommend collection of a blood sample for herpes serum antibody at the beginning and near the end of the isolation period. It can take up to 14 days for a horse to develop antibodies which is why two samples are required for comparison. A nasal swab should also be collected at the end of the isolation period to ensure your horse is not shedding virus. During the isolation period regular monitoring including twice daily rectal temperature recording is essential. A fever is often one of the first signs of herpes infection.’

Beth Robinson

New Forest Equine Vets

 

It is important to let others know that you have a suspected case of EHV, these people include, other horse owners, vets, farriers and anyone likely to have come into contact with the horse.  Only through open communication will we  break the stigma surrounding the virus and help prevent the spread of the disease.

 

Treatment for the virus once confirmed is predominantly supportive care as many antiviral drugs used in humans aren’t effective in horses. The virus is allowed to run its course whilst keeping the horse as comfortable as possible, anti-inflammatory drugs such as bute are often administered and some horses might require intravenous fluids.

 

The best methods of prevention are the EHV-1 vaccination which is effective against the Respiratory form of the disease which prevents abortion and correct bio-security. There are currently no vaccinations that can prevent the Neurological form of infection. The vaccination is considered ‘risk based’ so for more information on the vaccine, seek veterinary advice. It is most commonly used in breeding mares, but it begs the question, should we be vaccinating against this virus as religiously as we do with flu and tetanus?

 

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The British Equestrian Federation has issued the following statement regarding the recent outbreak 

‘The Federation supports the actions of the centre who have ceased all activity, including cancelling shows and hire bookings until further notice. The Animal Health Trust has issued advice stating that all horses who have recently visited the centre are immediately isolated for a period of 14 days and that owners seek veterinary advice regarding clinical monitoring and laboratory test clearance.’

 

British Show Jumping stated on 13th January 2020 

‘Following the recent outbreak of EHV-1 it is now a requirement that any horse or pony that has been on site at Crofton Manor, Hampshire since the 20th December 2019 is required to have a negative swab and blood test before competing at any British Showjumping show or organised event.’

 

British Dressage stated on 13th January 2020

In consultation with the Animal Health Trust and on the advice provided in today’s British Equestrian Federation updateBritish Dressage requires members with any horses or ponies who visited Crofton Manor EC between 20 December and 7 January for any reason (training or competition) have them tested by a veterinary surgeon for EHV-1. This is in addition to the originally recommended isolation period of 14 days and daily clinical monitoring. Owners of any horses or ponies who have been to Crofton EC in the specified should liaise directly with their veterinary surgeon on the testing process and advice.’

 

At this stage, there have been no confirmed cases in horses outside of Crofton Manor. It is only with complete transparency and strict bio security procedures that we can control the spread of this awful disease. 

Our thoughts go out to the Centre and the owners of the horses that were sadly euthanised. 

 

Laura_renwick

British Showjumping pin all their Olympic hopes on Rotterdam

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Should we be worried about the state of British Showjumping?

 

After winning team gold in London 2012 and individual gold in Rio 2016, it seems hard to believe that Team GB have not even qualified for Tokyo 2020. After a disappointing Nations Cup Series where Britain are at the bottom of their division which will mean they cannot qualify for the Nations Cup Final. Our final chance for Olympic qualification comes with the FEI Longines European Championships in Rotterdam, Holland, which take place from 19–25 August 2019.

 

Yet all is not lost, the Brits are famous for pulling it out the bag when it really matters. They have been here before and it was a similar “last chance saloon” story before Rio. Furthermore with two Olympic gold medallists, currently Britain’s highest FEI-ranked showjumpers on the list in Ben Maher and Scott Brash, supported by three talented girls, their chances are strong.

 

The selected squad has been named by British Showjumping selectors as:

  • Scott Brash MBE (33 years) from Peeblesshire and based in West Sussex with Lady Pauline Kirkham & Lady Pauline Harris’ Hello M’Lady (bay, mare, 13yo, Indoctro x Baloubet du Rouet).
  •  Amanda Derbyshire (30 years) from Leyland in Lancashire and based in the USA with Gochman Sport Horse LLC’s Luibanta BH (bay, mare, 11yo, Luidam x Abantos).
  • Ben Maher MBE (36 years) from Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire with Poden Farms’ Explosion W (chestnut, gelding, 10yo, Chacco Blue x Baloubet Du Rouet).
  • Laura Renwick (44 years) from Maldon in Essex with Arabella Prior’s Dublin V (chestnut, gelding, 11yo, Vigaro x Calvados).
  • Holly Smith (30 years) from Wymeswold in Leicestershire with TJ Hall Ltd’s and her own Hearts Destiny (British Bred) (bay, gelding, 10yo, Heart Throb x Rabino).

 

Performance Manager Di Lampard said “The European Championships this year are absolutely crucial if we are to qualify for the Olympic Games at Tokyo next year. I have full faith that the selection panel have put together a very strong team who could not only secure a qualifying ticket for Tokyo but also medal in both the Team and Individual Finals. I would like to personally thank all the owners that have made their horses available and of course the riders who are as committed as I am to delivering for Great Britain. In addition I extend my thanks to the dedicated support team at the BEF and British Showjumping who also play a vital role”

 

British Showjumping Chief Executive Iain Graham commented “We go forward to Rotterdam with a strong team in whom I have full confidence. In Ben and Scott we have two London 2012 Team Gold medallists who have also held the top spot individually on the world ranking lists. Both Holly and Amanda have proven themselves as Championship Team riders and Laura Renwick has been having consistent success at top level. I would like to congratulate the entire team on their selection and also thank the owners who have generously made their horses available for the British campaign as we set our sights on Tokyo.”

 

According to Scott Brash, he has been saving his horse for this opportunity. “My plans for Hello M’Lady this year have been entirely based around preparing her for the Europeans, so that I knew she would be ready for these all-important championships from where we need to qualify for Tokyo 2020. I was delighted to receive the call-up for the team and would like to take this opportunity to thank my owners Lord and Lady Kirkham and Lord and Lady Harris for their ongoing support.”

 

Amanda Derbyshire who suffered a dramatic fall in the FEI Nations Cup at Hickstead is excited to be a mainstay of the team. She was best of the Brits at the World Equestrian Games in Tyron last year on Luibanta. “I couldn’t be any happier to be selected for what will be my second Championships. Obviously I wish I hadn’t had a fall recently but I feel confident that I and Luibanta will be going to the Championships in fighting form.”

 

Ben Maher will be bringing his Global Champions Tour Champion Explosion W. “Representing Great Britain at championship level is always an honour and I would like to thank the Moffitt family and Poden Farms for making their outstanding horse, Explosion W, available for Rotterdam. This is a crucial championships for us in terms of qualifying for Tokyo and I am delighted to be part of the team that has been entrusted to deliver that all-important Olympic ticket.”

 

The ever green Laura Renwick has made a number of Nations Cup appearances but this will be her first championship for Team GB. “I’m really excited and proud to have been selected to represent my country at not only my first European Championships but also one that is extremely important to Great Britain in terms of Olympic qualification. I would like to thank my owner Arabella Prior and her family who own Dublin V and of course my husband John for his ongoing support and belief in me.”

 

Holly Smith is another consistent performer with ice cool nerves and a seriously talented partner in Hearts Destiny. “I’m delighted and honoured to be representing Great Britain again on a Championship team. We have a serious task ahead of us in Rotterdam in respect of qualifying for Tokyo and I’m absolutely focused on giving it my best shot at making sure we do just that.”

2018 Cheltenham Festival - Gold Cup Day - Cheltenham Racecourse

OUTBREAK OF EQUINE FLU COULD CAUSE COMPLETE LOCKDOWN OF EQUESTRIAN SPORT

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The whole equine community looks on with trepidation as six racehorses horses have tested positive for equine influenza this week, all of whom were vaccinated. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) ordered that all racing be cancelled until next Wednesday at the earliest. The BHA are working with the Animal Health Trust who have been testing thousands of horses from over 100 training yards that could have been exposed to the disease.

 

The outbreak was first discovered in leading trainer Donald McCain’s yard in Cheshire, where three horses testing positive for the disease on Wednesday 6th February. Then on Friday 8th, another three from the same yard also came back with positive results. McCain was quick to inform the authorities and has been praised for his professionalism. He had horses running at Ayr and Ludlow racecourses earlier that day, potentially exposing a number of other horses from both the UK and Ireland to the disease. A number of other big yards including Champion Trainer Paul Nicholls have had all their horses tested and quarantined.

 

Vaccination against equine influenza or equine flu is compulsory for all racehorses and horses used competitively for other any equestrian sport. What is most alarming is that all the horses who tested positive were vaccinated against the disease which might suggest that a new strain of flu is present. If it is not quickly contained, this could spread rapidly through the racehorse population and potentially affect the UK equine population as a whole. Both the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) and the FEI have been issuing statements on a daily basis.

 

“The concern is that equine influenza is highly contagious” explains vet, David Mathieson of the Donnington Veterinary practice, who look after a number of racing yards in the South of England. “It has a very short incubation period- as short as 24 hours. It is spread readily between horses and personnel from one horse to another. It can also be airborne.”

 

On Friday 8th February, the BEF issued a statement saying “We continue to urge owners to be vigilant and follow the recommended guidelines on how to detect and prevent the spread of this infectious disease. We also urge any owners with suspected cases to take immediate veterinary advice. If flu is confirmed by laboratory testing, they should contact their relevant member body. If your horse is currently vaccinated, but it has been longer than six months since their last vaccination, we recommend that you discuss a booster with your vet”

 

The symptoms of equine flu include high temperature, coughs, snotty nose, enlarged glands, swollen or sore eyes, depression, loss of appetite and swelling in the lower legs.  With modern veterinary treatment, is it rarely fatal but horses can take months to recover fully. The disease can take up to three days for symptoms to be visible, which means that the BHA will not be able to draw a conclusion from all the information until Sunday at the earliest.

 

For the racing fraternity, it could become a living nightmare. At least 23 fixtures will be cancelled by next Wednesday which will cost the industry millions. Added to this, we are just five and eight weeks off two the most prestigious racing festivals in the world- The Magners Cheltenham Festival (12-15thMarch) and the Randox Health Grand National Festival at Aintree (4-6thApril). Not only is The Cheltenham Festival the fourth largest attended sporting event in the UK, but some 1.5 million people also tune in to ITV racing for the signature race, The Gold Cup. Around 8.5 million watched the Grand National on ITV last year and it has a race attendance of over 140,000 people over the three day Aintree festival.