Kuranda and Mareeba Veterinary Services Hendra Virus Policy for Horses.
Hendra virus is a fatal disease of horses and humans, as such it will always be considered a business and occupational health risk. The disease has no specific or consistent clinical signs so can manifest as any other disease in the horse. Insurance companies are unable to give clear responses to the issue of Hendra virus infection and business shutdown.
Vaccination of horses for Hendra Virus is the only effective way of reducing risks to the community, our clients and colleagues and our business.
The Health Department has defined a suspect as any horse that Hendra virus is not ruled out from, meaning that any unvaccinated horse that is ill is a suspect and requires a full Workplace Health and Safety (WHS) response to be implemented. Implementation of this response in the field to the level required avoiding scrutiny or prosecution is very difficult.
The ever increasing level of scrutiny by WHS and their actions against veterinarians when they have been unfortunate enough to come in contact with a Hendra positive horse has resulted in ever increasing business risk.
As a result of this increasing business risk Kuranda and Mareeba Veterinary Services is implementing a Hendra virus vaccination protocol.
- Examinations on well, unvaccinated horses will require adequate PPE to be worn during the examination.
- It is recommended that horses undergoing routine procedures and examinations be vaccinated with Equivac HeV
- During hours appropriate PPE will be used for all sick or injured unvaccinated horses. These horses may require Hendra Virus exclusion testing and treatment may be limited to that required for animal welfare. If exclusion testing is done then treatments such as injections can only be provided by a veterinarian wearing PPE. All people involved with the horse at this time must wear PPE.
- Out of hours or at other times when the implementation and safe use of PPE is compromised sick and emergency cases may limited to patients with a current certificate of vaccination with Equivac HeV, those under going primary vaccination will be assessed and appropriate safety measures taken. If seen unvaccinated horses may require Hendra Virus exclusion testing and treatment may be limited to that required for animal welfare. If exclusion testing is done then treatments such as injections can only be provided by a veterinarian wearing PPE. All people involved with the horse at this time must wear PPE.
- Hospital admissions will require a current certificate of vaccination with Equivac HeV.
- Mare- foal units where the foal is less than 4 months of age and the mare has a current certificate of vaccination where the vaccine was given prior to the birth of the foal will be considered as a vaccinated unit subject to clinical assessment of the foal.
Hendra vaccination is considered to be very safe and effective. Over 100,000 horses have now been vaccinated and the rate of complications is very low.
Kuranda and Mareeba Veterinary Services has an obligation to its clients and staff to protect and advise them on the best way of preventing disease in horses and people. Vaccination is the best way of preventing Hendra virus infection in horses and therefore protecting the community and its clients.
We thank our clients who have already implemented vaccinations programs in the interests of safety and welfare and we are taking these measures so that we can continue to serve you and your horses.
Our services include 24hr 7 day a week emergency service, Consultations and Diagnostics (including all Laboratory and Pathology, in house and external, Digital x-ray, Echocardiography, Bronchoscopy, Ultrasound and Endoscopy) Full Preventive, Medical and Surgical care, Desexing, Vaccinations, Microchipping, Special interest in Equine and all other animal dentistry, Geriatric medicine and care for all species, Certified Equine Examinations for pre purchase or insurance purposes, Artificial insemination for small animals, Pregnancy testing in all animals, on property and or house calls, Freeze branding, Acupuncture, Orthopedics, Cryotherapy and many more.