Hendra Virus and Vaccination
Hendra Virus occurs on the NSW Mid North Coast due to the presence of flying foxes which carry the virus. Hendra can be transferred to horses and then onto humans and can be life-threatening for both.
The symptoms associated with this virus are highly variable and disease onset can be rapid or slow. If your horse is unwell for any reason we highly recommended you call your vet. The only way we can confirm Hendra is to obtain a sample and send it off for testing. Results are received within in 1 to 2 days.
Due to the potential for humans to contract this virus we need to take all precautions when attending an unwell horse that is not vaccinated against Hendra. This may mean we have to use personal protective gear and may not be able to undertake some treatments until test results are received. This can add significantly to the cost of seeing your horse and delay potentially vital treatments.
In line with Government recommendations, we recommend that all horses are vaccinated against the Hendra Virus. NSW DPI states that “Vaccination against Hendra virus is the single most effective way to prevent Hendra infection and vaccinating horses is an important measure to prevent human infection.”
To vaccinate your horse two initial vaccinations are given 3 to 6 weeks apart. The next dose is 6 months later and then an annual booster. Results of vaccine testing show the vaccine is highly effective.
For more information on identifying and managing Hendra see the following links.