Flu strains are al­ways chang­ing. Give your horse the vac­cine that’s kept up.

EQUUS - - Eq Hand­son -

Don’t set­tle for an out­dated in­fluenza vac­cine

Get­ting a flu shot each year is sec­ond na­ture for most peo­ple. Al­though it has been thought of as a risk-based vac­cine for horses, in re­al­ity, most horses could be at risk. As hu­man in­fluenza flooded the news in late 2014, it’s time to take a closer look at what makes some equine in­fluenza vac­cines work bet­ter than oth­ers.

Not your grandpa’s flu strain

In­fluenza viruses, hu­man and equine, change as time goes by through a process called anti­genic drift. In­fluenza vac­cines need to be con­stantly up­dated to re­flect this change in the cir­cu­lat­ing flu strains.

Anti­genic drift oc­curs in both hu­man and equine in­fluenza, and dif­fer­ent or­ga­ni­za­tions work to pre­vent flu out­breaks by de­ter­min­ing the cur­rent cir­cu­lat­ing viruses and then rec­om­mend­ing what strains should be in­cluded in vac­cines.

For hu­mans, the Cen­ters for Disease Con­trol and Preven­tion (CDC) pre­dicts which strains will be cir­cu­lat­ing in the next flu sea­son. How­ever, be­cause of anti­genic drift, there is oc­ca­sion­ally a new strain cir­cu­lat­ing that was not in­cluded in the year’s vac­cine. Such was the case late last year when the CDC an­nounced the 2014 in­fluenza vac­cine would not be as ef­fec­tive against the cur­rent cir­cu­lat­ing flu strains. For horses, the Or­ga­ni­za­tion of In­ter­na­tional Epi­zootes (OIE) has an Ex­pert Surveil­lance Panel on Equine In­fluenza con­sist­ing of glob­ally rec­og­nized in­fluenza re­searchers. Their rec­om­men­da­tion, based on mon­i­tor­ing in­fluenza viruses and anti­genic drift, in­cludes vac­ci­nat­ing for Florida Clade 1 and Clade 2 strains of the equine in­fluenza virus.

Out­dated vac­cines put horses at risk

If your in­fluenza vac­cine doesn’t in­clude the Florida Clade 1 and Clade 2 strains, it’s out­dated and your horse is not get­ting full pro­tec­tion. An out­dated vac­cine can put your horses at risk by means of:

• Vi­ral shed­ding. Even if your horse does not get vis­i­bly sick, it can shed the virus to other horses as much as an un­vac­ci­nated horse.

• A lower level of pro­tec­tion. An out­dated vac­cine is less

ef­fec­tive than one con­tain­ing cur­rently cir­cu­lat­ing strains.

Boehringer In­gel­heim Vetmed­ica, Inc. is the only vac­cine man­u­fac­turer that has fol­lowed OIE Ex­pert Surveil­lance Panel on Equine In­fluenza’s rec­om­men­da­tion to in­clude both Florida Clade 1 and Clade 2 equine in­fluenza strains in its vac­cines. The Vetera XP vac­cine line pro­vides di­rect an­ti­body pro­tec­tion from the most re­cent strains of equine in­fluenza to en­sure your horse re­ceives the high­est level of pro­tec­tion.

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