Hendra Virus is a deadly disease, first diagnosed in Australia in 1994.

It can be transmitted from flying fox to horse, horse to horse and horse to human. It is believed that horses can become infected by ingesting body fluids and excretions of flying foxes.

Since 1994, Hendra virus has claimed the lives of more than 80 horses, with 30+ cases being confirmed in 2011 and 2012. There have been 7 confirmed cases of human infection, 4 of which lost their lives.

WHY IS THIS SUCH A CONCERN FOR YOU?

Hendra results in the death of 100% of infected horses and so far has claimed the lives of 57% of infected humans.

There is no treatment for virus infection. It is a fatal disease.

HOW DO YOU PREVENT HENDRA VIRUS INFECTION?

The single most effective way of preventing hendra virus infection of your horse is through vaccination.

The vaccine consists of a primary course of 2 doses, given 21 to 42 days apart. Your horse will be immune to the virus 3 weeks after the SECOND dose. The next booster dose will be required 6 months later.

The vaccine has been proved to be both highly effective and safe. It is an inactive vaccine, so there is NO chance of your horse succumbing to the virus through vaccination. It has to be remembered, that no vaccine is 100% effective.

As a practice, we highly recommend vaccinating all horses on your property.

SIGNS OF HENDRA IN YOUR HORSE

  • Sudden onset of illness

  • Increased body temperature

  • Nasal discharge – clear, white or blood-tinged

  • Increased breathing rate

  • Depression

  • Unusual behaviour – weight-shifting, head tilt, circling

  • Muscle twitching

  • Mild colic

As a client it is important you understand how broad these clinical signs are and that as a responsible horse owner you handle potential Hendra virus cases with impeccable care and call your vet if you are at all uneasy. It is also important you understand that, as vets, we potentially risk our lives on a daily basis handling possible hendra cases, and you must respect our decision for virus testing, should we deem it necessary.