Ballina horse trainer Danny Bowen with his son Daniel and horse Pushroad. Mr Bowen says the latest horse death from hendra is “so close to home”.
Ballina horse trainer Danny Bowen with his son Daniel and horse Pushroad. Mr Bowen says the latest horse death from hendra is “so close to home”. Marc Stapelberg

Hendra virus shocks Ballina

A PROPERTY near Ballina has been quarantined after it was confirmed yesterday another horse had died from the hendra virus.

The horse died on Monday after becoming “noticeably ill” late Sunday night, and its condition deteriorated rapidly.

A private veterinarian took blood and swabs from the sick horse and sent the samples to the NSW Department of Primary Industries for laboratory analysis.

NSW chief veterinary officer, Dr Ian Roth, said the results were received on Tuesday night and confirmed hendra.

“The infected horse has been euthanased and buried on the property,” he said.

“There are two other at-risk horses on the quarantined property, both of which are currently showing no signs of illness.”

Dr Roth said both horses were being closely monitored, with further tests to be carried out after 16 and 32 days.

The news has shocked the Ballina racing industry, with trainers calling on the Department of Primary Industries to provide more information.

Ballina trainer Danny Bowen said it was “sad” to hear the most recent case was “so close to home”.

“We don't want this happening in our area at all,” he said.

“But you do feel sorry for them (the horse owner), because you can do everything right and then something like this just happens. You don't even know anything's wrong until you've got a sick horse and by then it's too late.”

Mr Bowen said it was the DPI's responsibility to provide as much information as possible for anyone with horses.

“We need to know what's going on. Here in Ballina (at the training centre), we've got a lot of horses in a small, confined area. If we got hendra in here, it would be a big problem,” he said.

Ballina Jockey Club chairman Robert Pitt said it was unlikely the hendra virus would affect the local racing industry.

“The horses we have here are all fed and watered under cover, so that negates 99% of the risk,” Mr Pitt said.

“We are doing what we can and taking precautions. All the trainers know the situation and awareness is heightened.”



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