Hendra virus in northern NSW

GOOD IDEA: DPI advises vaccination is the most effective way of reducing the risk of hendra virus affecting your horse.
GOOD IDEA: DPI advises vaccination is the most effective way of reducing the risk of hendra virus affecting your horse. vchal

HORSE owners are being urged to remain vigilant after the NSW Department of Primary Industries announced a hendra virus infection has been confirmed in an un-vaccinated horse near Lismore.

NSW Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Christine Middlemiss, said the property near Lismore had been placed under movement restrictions by Local Land Services.

"This is the first case of Hendra virus confirmed in NSW this year,” Dr Middlemiss said.

"Samples from the horse were sent by a private veterinarian for laboratory analysis at DPI's Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute and results from testing at EMAI confirmed the hendra virus.”

The 11-year-old gelding has since been euthanased by the Local Land Services district veterinarian.

The horse appeared to be lethargic on July 6, and by the next day the horse was not eating and was wobbly on its feet.

"There has been a case of hendra virus in the area before,” Dr Middlemiss said.

"All known hendra virus cases have occurred in Queensland or northern NSW, but cases could occur wherever there are flying foxes or in horses that had recent contact with flying foxes prior to movement.”

All horse owners should discuss a hendra virus vaccination strategy with their veterinarian.

"Vaccination remains the most effective way of reducing the risk of hendra virus infection in horses, but good biosecurity and personal hygiene measures should always be practised in conjunction with it,” Dr Middlemiss said.

"Horses should also be kept away from flowering and fruiting trees that are attractive to bats. Do not place feed and water under trees and cover feed and water containers with a shelter so they cannot be contaminated from above.”

Signs of hendra virus are variable and can include high temperature, depression, nasal discharge, problems with breathing and a lack of co-ordination.

Infected horses rapidly deteriorate within a few days.

If your horse is unwell, DPI advises that you keep people and other animals away from the horse and call your private veterinarian immediately.

If your vet is unavailable you can call a district veterinarian with the Local Land Services or the Animal Biosecurity Emergency Hotline on 1800 675 888.

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