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Horse owners encouraged to vaccinate against Hendra virus

The NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is encouraging horse owners to vaccinate their horses against Hendra virus. This month, an unvaccinated horse had to be euthanased at a property near Lismore, after samples from the horse tested positive to Hendra virus. DPI’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Christine Middlemiss said it was imperative that horse owners take all steps they possibly can to reduce the chances of their horses becoming infected with Hendra virus. “Horse owners should discuss a vaccination strategy with their private veterinarian, as vaccination remains the most effective way of reducing the risk of Hendra Virus infection in horses,” Dr Middlemiss said. “Vaccinating your horse also protects your animals, and you and your family. “It’s also important that good biosecurity and personal hygiene measures are practiced. “Horses should be kept away from flowering and fruiting trees that are attractive to bats. “Do not place feed and water under trees and cover feed and water containers with a shelter so they cannot be contaminated from above.” Hendra virus can cause a range of symptoms in horses. Usually there is a sudden fever and either respiratory or neurological illness. If your horse is unwell, keep people and other animals away from the horse and call your private veterinarian immediately. If your veterinarian is unavailable you can call a District Veterinarian with the Local Land Services or the Animal Biosecurity Emergency Hotline on 1800 675 888. For more information about Hendra, visit the DPI website.