British Survey on Respiratory Diseases

British surveys show vets and horse owners are keen to actively reduce the risks of respiratory herpesvirus.
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Credit: Thinkstock Zoetis surveys of British veterinarians and horse owners showed that there is support for learning more about protecting horses from equine herpesvirus respiratory disease.

Credit: Thinkstock Zoetis surveys of British veterinarians and horse owners showed that there is support for learning more about protecting horses from equine herpesvirus respiratory disease.

Zoetis Inc. announced the results of two British surveys about equine herpesvirus (EHV). The surveys, prompted by the recent flu outbreak, have shown that vets and horse owners are keen to actively reduce the risks of this lesser known, but common infectious respiratory disease.1,2 In response Zoetis is supporting vets and owners with awareness and online education resources to help combat the threat of EHV.

Zoetis ran the two surveys about EHV in March this year, one aimed at vets and the other at horse owners. The intention was to gain a better understanding of veterinary approaches to reduction and control of EHV outbreaks as well as learn more about horse owner knowledge of EHV in order to identify the most effective ways to minimize the risks it poses. Around 1,300 responses were received.1,2

Horse Owner Survey Results, Reference 1

  • 87% of the horse owner group said they vaccinate for flu and tetanus.
  • 40% of this group vaccinate for EHV.
  • 55% of horse owners who completed the survey were unaware that there is a vaccine available against EHV.
  • 77% of horse owners who don’t currently vaccinate said they now would, having learned more about it. 
  • Veterinary advice and rider association endorsement were consistently identified as the most significant influencers when it comes to making decisions to vaccinate.

Vet Survey Results, Reference 2

  • 93% of vets agreed that EHV vaccination is effective for its licensed indications
  • 83% agreed that EHV may impact performance in competition horses.
  • The majority sought endorsement from rider associations and key opinion leaders to increase recommendation for vaccination (89% and 87% respectively).

“The majority of horses are infected with EHV in the first few years of life,” said Zoetis vet Wendy Talbot. “Renewed shedding, especially during times of stress, results in new outbreaks and clinical cases. Vaccination against EHV is important because it helps tip the balance in favor of the horse’s immune system. It reduces viral shedding, the severity of respiratory disease and the frequency of abortion.3 As with flu, rigorous biosecurity is also imperative to help minimize the risks of EHV spreading.”

Almost all vet and horse owner survey participants said they wanted more educational and awareness information on EHV to be made readily available. In response, a group of leading equine vets have produced a roundtable discussion document on EHV with a central recommendation to vaccinate. 

In addition, Zoetis, in conjunction with Professor Josh Slater, has produced a series of four educational videos for horse owners at www.horsedialog.co.uk and a CPD video for vets https://youtu.be/uNUWsxJsuF4.

“It’s in every horse owner’s interests to understand and take action against EHV, to minimize the risks to our horses,” said Dr. Philip Ivens, Equine Internal Medicine Specialist at Buckingham Equine Vets and member of the EHV Roundtable discussion group. “EHV has potentially serious health, performance and financial implications across every sector of the equestrian industry but by making sure the disease is on everyone’s radar we can help to prevent it.”

Emmeline Hannelly, BHS Welfare Education Manager, said, “The awareness and interest in equine contagious diseases has increased in the equine community following the equine influenza outbreak. As reflected in the survey results, it’s encouraging that a high proportion of horse owners want to find out further information and understand the potential risk of EHV to their horses. The BHS supports the educational materials produced by Zoetis to inform owners about the disease, and recommendation from vets to vaccinate.”

Visit www.horsedialog.co.uk for more information on disease risks, vaccination, equine health and wellbeing.

References

1. Data on File, March Equine Herpes Virus Horse Owner Survey 2019, Zoetis, Inc.

2. Data on File, March Equine Herpes Virus Vet Survey 2019, Zoetis, Inc.

3. Heldens, J.G.; Hannant, D.; Cullinane, A.A.; et al. Clinical and virological evaluation of the efficacy of an inactivated EHV1 and EHV4 whole virus vaccine (Duvaxyn EHV1,4). Vaccination/challenge experiments in foals and pregnant mares. Vaccine. 2001;19:4307-4317. doi:10.1016/S0264-410X(01)00131-1.

About Zoetis

Zoetis is the leading animal health company, dedicated to supporting its customers and their businesses. Building on more than 65 years of experience in animal health, Zoetis discovers, develops, manufactures and commercializes medicines, vaccines and diagnostic products, which are complimented by biodevices, genetic tests and a range of services. Zoetis serves veterinarians, livestock producers and people who raise and care for farm and companion animals with sales of its products in more than 100 countries. In 2018, the company generated annual revenue of $5.8 billion with approximately 10,000 employees. For more information, visit

The British Horse Society

As the largest equine charity in the UK, The British Horse Society is dedicated to education, equine welfare, protecting and increasing access to bridleways and equestrian routes, and safety for horse and riders. The Society’s thriving and active community of staff and volunteers are committed to improving the lives of horses everywhere.

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