Lockdown: Coffs begins to feel effects of track closure due to horse flu

By UTE SCHULENBERG

COFFS Harbour Racing Club is still hoping the September 18 meeting will go ahead, despite the statewide ban of the movement of horses.

Chief Executive Russ Atkinson told the Advocate if the outbreak of equine influenza did not spread beyond the two areas in Sydney, the club would still be able to stage the meeting.

"The next few days will be crucial for racing in NSW, but at this stage we are not directly affected," he said.

Mr Atkinson said that 98 per cent of horses at the club were stabled on course and would continue to train there, but other tracks might fare differently.

"Grafton has a road running between the stables and the course and it is my understanding that no horses can be transported across public highways," he said.

"Also, horses are not allowed on beaches, so the rules will hamper most people's preparations."

Mr Atkinson said it was too early to tell how much of an economic impact the outbreak will have on the club.

"Obviously the longer it goes on, the worse it will be. We'll all lose out," he said.

"It is an unprecedented event and it has to be contained. If we can isolate the virus and the quarantine measures work, I am hopeful we'll be racing soon."

The NSW Department of Primary Industries has issued a five-day control order on all events involving horses, mules and donkeys in the state.

The ban prevents the gathering of equine animals at markets, fairs, sales, shows, parades, race meetings and other gatherings involving such animals or products.

The incubation period for equine influenza is 3-4 days.

Symptoms include a fever, runny nose and dry hacking cough.

The disease is highly contagious and can be carried on clothing, shoes and car tyres.

There is no commerical vaccine available for the disease.

If you have any concerns contact Pacific Vet Care on 6652 3455.



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