Equine influenza

How to recognize influenza in your horses and protect them from getting sick

Equine influenza

Influenza (horse flu) is a viral disease of the horse’s entire respiratory system. It is highly contagious and endangers entire horse populations. Especially unvaccinated or improperly vaccinated horses run the risk of a severe course.

Typical symptoms include:

  • fever (39.4°C to 41°C)
  • loss of appetite
  • strong, dry coughing attacks
  • nasal discharge
  • swollen lymph nodes


Anti-inflammatory drugs may be administered to reduce fever. In case of secondary bacterial infections, antibiotics are given additionally. Affected horses should be isolated and housed in completely quiet, dust-free and well-ventilated stables as absolute rest is the main component of therapy. Horses should not be subjected to strenuous exercise for up to 2 weeks after all symptoms have worn off.


The most important element for prophylaxis is vaccination. With horses in the herd and to minimize infection pressure and virus shedding, the entire herd should be vaccinated, if possible. Any horse showing symptoms of influenza must be isolated immediately to prevent infection of other animals.

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