The ever growing story of the day in the world of horse racing is the equine influenza that has brought British racing to a standstill on Thursday and could continue for many days to come.
The BHA are doing all they can to keep the general public in the loop with what is happening and with this trainers and jockeys are also giving there opinions and expertise on the matter.
Adding to this we want to explain what this flu actually is:
(Credit Animal Health Trust) - Equine influenza, sometimes referred to as equine flu or horse flu, is a highly contagious respiratory infection. An infected horse will show clinical signs similar to those of human flu and will be infectious for about a week. Tens of thousands of horses can be affected by one outbreak. Although rarely fatal, it can have a huge impact on competition and breeding due to restriction of horse movements.
The source of the outbreak was never officially revealed by the BHA but there was amid speculation that three horses came from the yard of dual trainer Donald McCain.
Since the rumours and constant chatter Mccain has since come out and spoke about the situation with his horses releasing a statement through the National Trainers Federation.
(Credit Racing Post) McCain said: “I have been aware of the recent news about Equine Influenza outbreaks in France and Ireland, and over the last couple of days, I have been concerned about the health status of a small number of horses in the yard. Their welfare is at the front of our minds, so at my request, our veterinary surgeon has examined them regularly and we have followed his advice on testing and treatment. It was by following this protocol that the positive results for equine flu came to light yesterday evening. The BHA were contacted immediately and we are liaising closely with them about biosecurity and management of all the horses at Bankhouse.
“Bankhouse follows all the available advice on disease control and all our horses are fully inoculated. We are scrupulous about observing the health status of horses in our care and taking the necessary steps to treat any condition that may affect them. It follows we would never race any horses that we could have known were infected. Over the last two months, all potential runners have been scoped and their blood checked within 36 hours of their races to ensure that only healthy horses compete for the yard.
“When new horses arrive at our yard we, as much as possible, try to keep them separate but at this stage cannot know if the infection came from recent arrivals or from horses returning from racing. We have three confirmed cases and this morning have taken blood and swabs from all the others for testing.”
Comment from David Sykes, BHA Director of Equine Health and Welfare, “We would like to thank Donald McCain for his cooperation in this matter, and for the responsible manner in which he has dealt with this issue, under the guidance of his veterinary surgeon. He has acted professionally with the interests of the racing industry and the health of his horses as his priority.”
McCain will be in close quarters with the BHA and other concerned regulatory bodies to make sure this process of his horses in quarantine goes smoothly.