Vet issues warning on vaccination
Pay up and protect: vet encourages owners to pay $250 for hendra jab
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.”
STAY CAUTIOUS: Vet Duncan Smith is warning people to vaccinate their horses against hendra virus, following a recent outbreak in South Kolan.
RIGHT: Horse owners are urged to vaccinate their horses now.