Thanks to the opportunities of modern transport, it's not only horses that can travel the world. They may also take with them their infectious diseases.
The recent equine influenza outbreak in Australia showed what can happen when susceptible horses are exposed to infection.
So with all the current scientific knowledge about vaccination, immunity and infectious disease in horses, What can be done to prevent, control limit the risk of similar outbreaks disasters events happening in the future.
Recently a group know as the Prevention of Equine Infectious Disease Guidelines Group (PrEquID) has been set up to compile recommendations for preventing and managing major equine infectious diseases, based on current scientific knowledge and available vaccines.
After an initial meeting in November 2009, the group met again in March 2010, to discuss guidelines for Equine Influenza and Equine Herpes virus infections. These diseases are widely considered to have a significant impact on the horse industry, based on disease outcome, economic impact, veterinary care and travel restrictions.
Practical, evidence-based recommendations are currently being finalised and will be made available shortly.
“Our aim is to develop overarching international guidelines for the management of infectious diseases,” said Professor Marian C Horzinek, Chairman of PrEquID. “These should contain practical, evidence-based recommendations for disease control and horse movement.”
Professor Peter Timoney, of the University of Kentucky, added, “the equine industry worldwide is facing an unprecedented threat from the challenge of infectious diseases. It’s a huge industry involving a complex range of stakeholders, including veterinarians, owners, breeders, trainers, shippers and regulators. We must set aside individual and national agendas and concentrate on the bigger picture if we’re to achieve greater international control over the spread of equine diseases and protect our industry for the future.”
The establishment of PrEquID was initiated and sponsored by Fort Dodge Animal Health (a division of Wyeth). With the acquisition of Wyeth by Pfizer in 2009, this initiative is now supported by Pfizer Animal Health.