In time for the start of the high risk period for Hendra virus infection, the world renowned Coolmore Stud in the Hunter Valley has vaccinated over 400 mares against the virus.
"The dangers of the Hendra virus are well documented and we are vaccinating our resident broodmares as a precaution," said Dr Padraig Kelly, Coolmore Resident Veterinarian.
"While Coolmore is not located in a high - risk area, we deem it prudent to be proactive in terms of protecting against the risks posed by the disease. The continued good health of our horses and staff is of paramount importance to us," said Dr Kelly.
Coolmore's decision to vaccinate follows the Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority 's (APVMA) approval of a variation to the existing permit for Equivac HeV . This means that six month duration of immunity (DOI) for the vaccine as well as a more flexible dosing regimen are now confirmed.
"The Hendra virus continues to be a public health concern as it is unpredictable and can cause disease and death in both humans and horses ," said Dr Stephanie Armstrong of the vaccine's producer, Zoetis Australia .
"We hope other studs in the Hunter Valley and around Australia follow Coolmore's example of vaccinating the horses under its care, including those mares that are pregnant."
Confirmation of the six month DOI for Equivac HeV and the flexibility in the dosing regimen (two doses delivered within a three to six week interval) are significant developments, with added value to both horse owners and veterinarians.
Equivac HeV is not registered but an application for registration has been submitted to the APVMA . Horse owners wanting to find out more about the Hendra virus and E quivac HeV should visit www.health4horses.com.au.