The Horse Trust last week vaccinated 72 of its 92 residents against equine influenza to implement its recently updated vaccination policy.

The Horse Trust last week vaccinated 72 of its 92 residents against equine influenza to implement its recently updated vaccination policy.

Horse Trust logoThe Horse Trust runs a sanctuary for rescued, elderly and retired working horses, ponies and donkeys in Speen, Buckinghamshire, and — until now — minimised the risk of equine influenza by quarantining all new admissions upon arrival to monitor them for signs of influenza, and by vaccinating any horses that attend shows or events.

However, after conducting a review into its vaccination policy, staff and trustees felt there was potentially an increased risk to the residents at the sanctuary due to:

  • an growing number of outside events attended by resident horses,
  • the admission of rescue cases where little is known of their background, and
  • the growing number of visitors to the sanctuary (25,000 in 2011).

Dominic Owsiany (groom at The Horse Trust) and Julian Samuelson (trustee) prepare to vaccinate Billy, one of the residents at the sanctuary.As the vast majority of the trust’s residents are elderly horses over the age of 20 (some with compromised immune systems), an outbreak of equine influenza could be fatal.

The vaccination programme was facilitated through the support of Merial Animal Health (which provided the vaccine) and Julian Samuelson, managing partner of Bell Equine Veterinary Clinic and trustee of The Horse Trust, who is managing the vaccination programme.

Jeanette Allen, CEO of the charity, said: “We would like to thank Merial and Julian Samuelson for their generous support and for providing the vaccine free of charge, which has helped us to safeguard the health of our vulnerable residents.”

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