Exposure to Equine Influenza is a Reality for Every Horse

Equine influenza can travel up to 50 yards and can be transmitted by hands and common items around the farm.

Equine influenza can survive on your hands and clothing along with stall walls and simple equipment such as brushes, buckets, trailers and feed troughs. iStock

How close would you let a horse come to equine influenza? Of course, no one wants their horse anywhere near such a dangerous risk, but even half a football field away may still not be far enough to safely protect him from exposure to equine influenza.

Equine influenza virus (EIV), commonly known as the flu, is highly contagious and capable of traveling 150 feet through the air.1 It is transmitted rapidly from horse to horse over long distances and can survive on hands, clothing, brushes, buckets, stall walls, feed troughs, trailers and more.1 Flu infects the respiratory tract, including the cilia, which keep debris out of horses’ lungs. When the cilia fail to keep bacteria from the airway, your horse is at risk of a secondary bacterial infection, making EIV even more devastating.1

Any horse that travels is at risk of exposure to developing a fever, coughing and nasal discharge from equine influenza. An EIV infection can cause lengthy time off for the horse and, again, it is the leading infectious cause of death in horses.

Understanding how simply EIV is transmitted helps you understand the risks you’re taking if your horse isn’t vaccinated.


Adult horses, in general, should be vaccinated annually against EIV, and those with increased exposure risks should be vaccinated every six months. Vaccination with FLUVAC INNOVATOR® provides protection against EIV and the many highly contagious ways it can spread to infect a horse. Since 2002, FLUVAC INNOVATOR has been tested against 29 emerging equine influenza virus isolates from top equine states, ensuring the vaccine remains immunologically relevant.2-8 Further, the Gluck Equine Research Center performed research using 37 EIV viruses from 24 different states to demonstrate cross-protective immunological relevance against recently isolated EIV strains.8,9

Tested and proven against current flu strain pressures in the U.S., FLUVAC INNOVATOR also is backed by the Zoetis Equine Immunization Support Guarantee. This guarantee provides up to $5,000 for reasonable diagnostic and treatment costs if your horse is properly vaccinated by a veterinarian and contracts the corresponding equine disease.

Talk to your veterinarian about vaccinating against this common but costly disease, and learn more about equine influenza at

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 complemented by biodevices, genetic tests and precision livestock farming. 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 2019, the company generated annual revenue of $6.3 billion with approximately 10,600 employees. For more information, visit


  1. American Association of Equine Practitioners. Equine Influenza Guidelines. Accessed July 31, 2020. 
  2. Data on file, Study Report No. 671-02-001.R, Zoetis Inc.
  3. Data on file, Study Report No. 671-08-004.R, Zoetis Inc. 
  4. Data on file, Study Report No. 766-09-002.R, Zoetis Inc. 
  5. Data on file, Study Report No. 10OREQBIO-01, Zoetis Inc. 
  6. Data on file, Study Report No. 14OREQBIO-1, Zoetis Inc. 
  7. Data on file, Study Report No. 15EQRGBIO-02, Zoetis Inc. 
  8. Data on file, Study Report No. 18EQRGBIO-01-02, Zoetis Inc. 
  9. Data on file. Study Report No. 19EQRGBIO-01-02, Zoetis Inc. 

This article was authored by Kevin Hankins, Senior Veterinarian, Equine Technical Services, Zoetis.






"*" indicates required fields

The latest from Stable Management, the #1 resource for horse farm and stable owners, managers and riding instructors, delivered straight to your inbox.

Additional Offers

Additional Offers
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.