Vet is­sues warn­ing on vac­ci­na­tion

Pay up and pro­tect: vet en­cour­ages own­ers to pay $250 for hen­dra jab

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - By MELINDA BRAD­FORD

A CHILDERS vet is warn­ing horse own­ers not to be com­pla­cent about hen­dra virus and to pro­tect their an­i­mals with vac­ci­na­tions.

Dr Dun­can Smith, of Isis Vet­eri­nary Ser­vices, spoke out af­ter two South Kolan prop­er­ties were placed un­der quar­an­tine last month be­cause one horse was di­ag­nosed with the deadly virus.

Dr Smith said while some Isis district res­i­dents might be­lieve bats were un­com­mon in the area, the re­al­ity was there was still a risk of horses con­tract­ing the dis­ease.

“A lot of people con­vince them­selves that they don’t have bats or fruit trees to at­tract bats, but of the cases of hen­dra – and there’s been about 50 cases – only half of those had had an as­so­ci­a­tion of bats,” he said.

“There have been cases where con­tact with bats has been quite in­ci­den­tal in na­ture.

“There’s a lot more bat ac­tiv­ity than people re­alise.”

Dr Smith said while there had been a “rea­son­able” num­ber of horse own­ers vac­ci­nat­ing their an­i­mals against the dis­ease, a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber were tak­ing ev­ery other pre­cau­tion apart from vac­ci­na­tion.

He said it was pos­si­ble the main rea­son people weren’t vac­ci­nat­ing their horses was the cost, which is $250.

Dr Smith said he un­der­stood the Wide Bay re­gion had been through tough times lately, but he was try­ing to re­in­force the mes­sage that there was a safe, ef­fec­tive vac­cine that had been avail­able for 18 months.

He said while he didn't want to “guilt trip” any­one, un­vac­ci­nated horses posed a great risk to fam­i­lies as well as vets treat­ing the sick horses.

“I can’t stress enough that hen­dra is a se­ri­ous dis­ease,” he said.

“People would sleep a whole lot bet­ter know­ing their horses are vac­ci­nated against hen­dra.

“If you can af­ford to own and feed a horse, you can af­ford to vac­ci­nate your horse.”

PHOTO: ZACH HOGG

STAY CAU­TIOUS: Vet Dun­can Smith is warn­ing people to vac­ci­nate their horses against hen­dra virus, fol­low­ing a re­cent out­break in South Kolan.

PHOTO: SCOT­TIE SIM­MONDS

RIGHT: Horse own­ers are urged to vac­ci­nate their horses now.

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