Equine Flu Shock For UK Racing

Equine Flu Shock For UK Racing

A statement from the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) read, "Horses from the infected yard have raced at Ayr and Ludlow, potentially exposing a significant number of horses from yards across the country and in Ireland".

In 2001, an outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease wiped out racing for two months in Britain, leading to the cancellation of the Cheltenham Festival, which is held every March. The BHA is working closely with the Animal Health Trust and will issue a further update tomorrow.

Donald McCain's three infected horses had all been vaccinated against equine influenza.

Horse racing across the United Kingdom has been banned today, Thursday, in a bid to stop the spread of a serious disease.

The action to cancel Thursday's races was taken with unanimous support of the BHA's industry veterinary committee and will affect meetings at Huntingdon, Doncaster, Ffos Las and Chelmsford.

Equine influenza is a highly infectious disease of horses, mules and donkeys.

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It is the most potentially damaging of the respiratory viruses that occur in United Kingdom equines and disease symptoms in non-immune animals include high fever, coughing and nasal discharge. The disease can take up to three days before symptoms are visible, meaning it will take until Sunday at the earliest before the BHA can gather all the information required.

Trainer Donald McCain looks on ahead of the Cheltenham Festival during a media open day at his Bankhouse Stables on February 26, 2013 in Cholmondeley, Cheshire. Extremely. It is most commonly spread via nose-to-nose contact between horses but can also be passed on through human contact and has been known to be windborne over distances of up to 8km. We recommend that any trainer who has concerns about the health status of any of their horses should contact their veterinarian'.

He went on: "When new horses arrive at our yard we, as much as possible, try to keep them separate but at this stage can not know if the infection came from recent arrivals or from horses returning from racing".

ITV Racing, which had been due to cover both Newbury's valuable meeting and significant races at Warwick this weekend, said it will instead show five races from Naas in Ireland.

"This precautionary approach is meant to ensure we put the health of the horse population and control of the virus first, and avoid any unnecessary risk that might come from returning to racing too quickly".

"We have three confirmed cases and this morning have taken blood and swabs from all the others for testing".

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