Horses Can Get The Flu Too


No one wants to head to the barn to find their horse lethargic and coughing. Unfortunately, the flu doesn’t just affect people… your horse is at risk too! Equine influenza (EI) is the second most common virus in horses. And it’s highly contagious between horses!

What is it?

This unpleasant respiratory disease can effect your horse, donkey and mule. It is passed through the saliva of an infected animal. This includes horse to horse connect, saliva on tack and buckets or from people and pets getting it on their hands or fur. It should be noted that humans and barn pets can not actually get the virus.

What are typical symptoms?

  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Lack of appetite
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Lethargic

How is this flu treated?

Your vet will want to manage your horse’s symptoms, especially their fever. They can prescribe NSAIDs. Your horse will also need lots of rest and recovery. It’s important to monitor your horse’s vital signs throughout this time. Any infected horse should be quarantined.

Equine influenza shouldn’t be taken lightly. If your horse travels to shows a lot or is stressed, then they may be at an increased risk. Seniors and young horses are also in that at-risk category. Luckily, there is a vaccine you can give your horse to prevent this awful virus. Talk to your vet today about prevention!

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