PROTECTION: Grafton Veterinary Clinic owner Dr Alan Giles with Brownie. Dr Giles is encouraging owners to vaccinate horses against hendra virus. Photo: JoJo Newby
PROTECTION: Grafton Veterinary Clinic owner Dr Alan Giles with Brownie. Dr Giles is encouraging owners to vaccinate horses against hendra virus. Photo: JoJo Newby

Hendra death prompts warning by vet

ANOTHER horse has died on the NSW Mid North Coast after being infected by hendra virus.

It is the third case of hendra virus in the State this year and the death coincides with the peak of the hendra virus season.

Alarmingly, the horse was on a property west of Kempsey, the most southerly point a hendra case has been diagnosed.

Two other horses have died in NSW from hendra virus in 2013.

The first death was on June 5, and the most recent on Saturday, July 6.

Grafton Veterinary Clinic owner Dr Alan Giles strongly encouraged horse owners in the Valley to vaccinate their horses against the virus.

"A lot of people think 'oh it's too expensive to vaccinate my horses', but it's the human factor," he said.

"It's you, it's your children and it's the kids at pony club.

"If someone's child was infected because somebody had a horse sick with hendra, that would just be a tragedy."

Dr Giles said the manufacturers of the hendra virus vaccine had recently introduced a two-for-one price, to encourage horse owners to vaccinate against the deadly virus.

The offer will end at the end of July.

"A lot of people are taking that offer up, which is really good to see," Dr Giles said.

"You can't afford not to vaccinate. The disease is too dangerous."

The signs and symptoms of hendra virus in horses are often very vague, and can easily be mistaken for common illnesses such as colic.

"In the early stages, hendra virus can mimic any disease," Dr Giles said.

"What is worrying is that it is contagious in those early stages."

Hendra VIRUS symptoms

  •  Fever
  •  Increased heart rate
  •  Restlessness
  •  Difficulty breathing
  •  Weakness
  •  Uncoordinated gait
  •  Muscle twitching

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