EI, Equine Influenza
Like humans, the flu is caused by a virus and spreads in much the same way-through airborne particles, or buckets, troughs, hands or other items that may carry the virus. The virus can spread very quickly.
Flu symptoms in horses can include elevated temperature, loss of appetite, harsh dry cough, and nasal discharge which may be watery or thick. EI is very contagious and unless horses are vaccinated whole stables can be infected. Young stock may be hardest hit and more susceptible to complications.
Most horses make a full recovery from Equine Influenza. Occasionally, secondary infections such as pneumonia may set in and lung or heart damage may occur.
Vaccination is the best preventative against Equine Influenza. Maintain good stable hygiene that includes sterilizing buckets, feed tubs and other equipment and taking precautions like hand washing, to prevent spread of the virus.
Horses with EI can be cared for by providing a clean, comfortable, draft and dust free environment such as a large box stall. Light exercise such as very short periods of hand walking may help promote good circulation, digestion and drainage of fluids. As the horse begins to recover the work load should be increased very gradually.