Second Macksville horse death confirmed as Hendra virus

Another Macksville district property has been placed off limits following the death of a second horse suffering Hendra virus.
Another Macksville district property has been placed off limits following the death of a second horse suffering Hendra virus. Jay Cronan

THE NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) has confirmed Hendra virus as the cause of death of one horse on a Macksville property.

NSW Chief Veterinary Officer Ian Roth said the property has been quarantined and the DPI Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA) and NSW Health are working closely with the property owners.

"Samples from the six-year-old gelding were sent to DPI's Elizabeth Macarthur Agricultural Institute and results confirmed," he said.

"Two other horses from the property, three dogs and two cats, will be closely monitored by NSW biosecurity experts.

"An LHPA veterinarian is taking samples of the remaining horses and the companion animals.

"The remaining horses will be vaccinated against Hendra.

"This case is not connected to the previous Hendra case in Macksville last month."

Roth said this is the second Hendra case this year and is a timely reminder that horse owners should speak with their private veterinarian about vaccinating their animals.

"Hendra virus can spread from flying foxes to horses and, rarely, from horses to people.

"It can cause a range of clinical signs in horses.

"Some of the more common symptoms that are seen are an acute onset of fever and rapid progression to death associated with either respiratory or neurological signs.

"Vaccination is the single most effective way of reducing the risk of Hendra virus infection in horses."

As Hendra virus is a notifiable disease, stock owners who suspect its presence report it to the Emergency Disease Watch Hotline - 1800 675 888.

DPI advises horse owners to take precautions in areas with flying foxes to reduce the risk of their horses becoming infected.

Talk with your private veterinarian about vaccination.

Place feed and water containers under cover but do not place feed and water under trees, especially trees with fruit.

Do not use feed that could attract flying foxes, such as apples, carrots, or molasses and remove horses from paddocks where fruiting or flowering trees have temporarily attracted flying foxes.

If it is not possible to remove the horse from the paddock, tape off the area under the tree.

More information on the Hendra virus is available from the DPI.

Topics:  dpi hendra virus

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