Hendra virus is a virus that mainly infects large fruit bats (flying foxes) which can be passed on to horses. The infection has occasionally been passed onto people who have been in close contact with an infected horse. It can be fatal.
Hendra virus can cause a range of symptoms in horses. Usually there is a rapid onset of illness, fever, increased heart rate and rapid deterioration with respiratory and/or neurological (nervous system) signs. However, symptoms can be extremely variable making diagnosis based on clinical signs very difficult. Because of this, we need to take precautions when attending an ill horse that has not been vaccinated. We will need to test the horse for Hendra Virus and avoid invasive procedures. For more information see our Hendra Virus Policy.
Hendra Virus is a year round threat here due to local flying fox populations. The only protection for horses and people from contracting Hendra Virus is through vaccination of horses. The Hendra Vaccine is both safe and 100% effective. The vaccination interval has been extended to 12 months making it more economical and practical to protect your horses and family.
Horses require an initial vaccination from 4 months of age and implantation of a microchip which is entered onto the Hendra Virus Register. A second dose is required 3 to 6 weeks later followed by a 6 month booster before proceeding to 12 month intervals.
We wish all our equine friends were this quiet to vaccinate!!
Tetanus is a bacterial disease caused by the organism Clostridium tetani which is found in soil and manure. The bacterium can survive in the environment for long periods. When it enters the body through wounds, particularly puncture wounds where there is a lack of oxygen, the spore reactivates and multiplies producing a potentially fatal neurotoxin. Horses are extremely susceptible to tetanus.
Current recommendations for horses are for an initial vaccination from 3 months of age with a booster 1 month later and annual revaccination. The vaccine can be administered alone or in combination with strangles as a 2 in 1. Owners can administer tetanus vaccinations to their own horses but we can administer Hendra vaccinations at the same time for convenience.
Strangles is a highly contagious respiratory disease of horses that is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus equi subspecies equi. The disease is highly infectious and can easily and rapidly spread from horse to horse.The strangles bacteria is spread by direct contact with the horse’s nasal discharge, pus from discharging abscesses, or even the infected horse coughing on another horse. Bacteria can also spread to an uninfected horse via contaminated objects such as people’s hands, clothing or even equipment such as halters, water buckets and feed bins.
Common clinical signs of Strangles may include: nasal discharge, fever, difficulty swallowing, loss of appetite, depression, coughing and laboured breathing due to enlarged lymph nodes. These distressing clinical signs can persist for days or weeks. Most horses recover, but they may need to be isolated for 6 to 8 weeks to avoid infecting other horses.
Strangles is seen more commonly in younger horses or in stressful or crowded situations.
Vaccination reduces the severity of infection rather than preventing it. 3 vaccinations are required initially at least 2 weeks apart followed by annual boosters (or 6 monthly in high risk areas).
Colts may be gelded as soon as both testicles are present in the scrotum. It is preferable to geld colts before they sexually mature but it is possible to geld stallions (however the risk of haemorrhage becomes higher).
Our technique requires general anaesthesia as it is safer for the patient and the surgeon allowing better asepsis and haemostasis.
The use of freeze branding is recommended over fire branding as it is less painful for the horse and has a more aesthetic appearance.
Some breeding and sporting organizations require branding of horses with or without microchipping because it enables visual identification of horses and it is permanent.
Australian Stud Book Identification
Nathan is accredited to perform stud book identification certificates, DNA sampling and microchipping.