The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has decided that racing will resume today (13 February), following a six day pause.
However, the BHA’s Chief Regulatory Officer, Brant Dunshea, has warned it is with “strict biosecurity” controls in place.
The extremely contagious virus was first found in six horses at a yard in Cheshire.
What is equine flu?
Equine flu can be found in horses, donkeys and mules. It is caused by strains of the influenza virus that affects the animals respiratory systems.
Humans can not get infected with equine flu, however can carry the virus on their skin, hair and clothing if they’ve been in contact with a horse that has the virus.
It’s important to wash and change your clothing after contact to stop the spread of equine flu.
The virus is similar to the human flu virus, once it has been inhaled the airways become inflamed which causes a sore throat and cough.
This can lead to damage of the airways which results in bacteria invading the damaged areas causing more infections.
Equine flu is most commonly caught through animals coughing and splattering around each other.
What are the symptoms of equine flu:
Some of the symptoms of equine flu are again very similar to the human flu, such as a high temperature and a cough that can take multiple weeks to clear.
Other signs of the virus include: Depression, lack of appetite, swollen glands under the lower jaw and filling of the lower limbs.
Equine flu is most common in young horses or horses that are regularly transported and mixed with others.
The virus can be prevented with vaccinations, which are compulsory in the UK under the British Horseracing Authority, FEI and affiliated governing bodies rules.