Horse health and disease resources

Primary Industries and Regions SA has produced material to help horse owners:

  • minimise risk of disease introduction
  • recognise diseases symptoms
  • notify the correct people about suspected diseases
  • control risks to themselves and other healthy animals.

General information for horse owners

Read our page on reporting animal diseases so you are prepared in case of serious disease in your animals.

Hendra virus

We have a page about the Hendra virus.

It includes:

  • causes
  • symptoms
  • precautions
  • downloadable material.

Downloadable resources

Hendra virus

Hendra virus information for veterinarians

Mosquito Borne Disease alert – Murray Valley Encephalitis Virus and West Nile virus

PIRSA is reminding horse owners to be on the lookout for the potential impact of symptoms of mosquito borne disease such as Murray Valley Encephalitis Virus and West Nile virus/Kunjin in their horses. This follows the detection of antibodies to both diseases in sentinel chickens located in the Riverland.

Sentinel chickens are a good indicator of mosquito borne disease risk and this latest detection has prompted the warning to horse owners to not only be alert but to minimise exposure of their horses to mosquitos as much as possible.

Mosquito mitigation strategies:

  • Use mosquito repellent
  • Cover horses or keep them indoors at a time of high mosquito activity – particularly at dawn and dusk
  • Eliminate mosquito breeding areas on your properties

In horses, infections with these viruses will not always show signs of disease. Symptoms can also be very similar to other diseases, including the Hendra virus.

Clinical symptoms:

  • Staggering
  • Incoordination
  • Weakness
  • Depression

Good biosecurity practices should always be followed when checking on your horses, however, as Hendra can be fatal to both horses and humans, it is essential to wear appropriate personal protective equipment when interacting with horses displaying symptoms.

If you notice that your horse appears unwell, please contact your veterinarian to arrange for an examination and possible laboratory testing. Veterinarians should contact their local PIRSA veterinary officer for testing protocols and guidelines.

West Nile virus/Kunming is a notifiable disease in animals in South Australia. Vets are being asked to report any unexplained neurological cases to PIRSA by contacting their local PIRSA Veterinary Officer or phoning the Emergency Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888.

More information

Media release: Mosquito borne disease alert for horse owners

Page Last Reviewed: 26 Feb 2018
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