Equine influenza is a highly contagious respiratory virus that affects a number of mammal species, including horses. Symptoms range from mild to severe. Flu commonly causes fever, coughing and nasal discharge. Younger horses tend to be more susceptible to the virus, which is transmitted via air-born secretions from coughing horses or contaminated tack and equipment.
Like many respiratory viruses, flu is usually self-limiting. Separation from other horses, rest and generalized supportive nursing care is often all that is necessary. However, some horses develop secondary bacterial infections, and even bacterial pneumonia can result. It is very important not to prematurely resume training or exercise.
Equine influenza (virus Type A) is a reportable disease, meaning that if a horse has or is suspected of having this disease, vets are required to report it to agricultural authorities (usually the State Veterinarian). These authorities may investigate the case as part of a larger effort to monitor equine health and coordinate with other states and the USDA APHIS in preventing the spread of illness or disease on a national and international level.
Diagnosis requires laboratory confirmation, usually PCR testing on respiratory secretions.
Treatment is supportive nursing care, and most importantly, isolation from other horses.
Other Diagnoses Considered
Treatments May Include
Prognosis & Relevant Factors
Good with prompt treatment. Some horses may recover in a few weeks, while others may need several months of rest. A rough rule of thumb is 1 week of rest for every day the horse has a fever.
I Might ObserveRelated Observations
QUESTIONS TO ASK MY VET