Hendra Vaccine? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 12-10-2013, 08:39 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2013
Location: North QLD, Australia.
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Hendra Vaccine?

Recently a huge debate was started on a Facebook page I follow about the Hendra vaccine. Apparently vets will possibly start refusing visits to horses that aren't vaccinated. Anyway, that's not the point here.

When the vaccination first came out there was a lot of rumors of it being quite dangerous and horses becoming ill, I said that I would down right not get my horse done if it would risk him becoming sick. No (from what I can tell) they've done more tests and the vaccine is safer for the horses.

I still am on the fence about it as the virus has never been near my town and my horses are kept on a property away from bat colonies and excessive tree coverage. They are fairly safe unless another horse comes and brings the virus with it.

My question is, do you guys think all horses should have this vaccine? Should it become mandatory?

Why do I ride horses? Because I look at my horse, and see my hopes and my dreams.
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post #2 of 15 Old 12-11-2013, 11:21 AM
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Vets already do refuse visits to horses that aren't vaccinated. When my mare colicked last week, I had two vets refuse me because she isn't vaccinated yet. If she had cut herself or was obviously lame, they would have seen her, but because Hendra has presented initially as colic before, they wouldn't touch her. My agistment place now won't allow horses that aren't vaccinated and are only allowing Mags to stay because she was due to get vaccinated last week (though she colicked instead and I haven't had a chance to re-book).

I come from Rockhampton, which is where they've had several cases and so people here are extremely tight about Hendra. I do think the vaccine is a good idea, although I am still really wary of it. I will have to have it done just because I need it for my agistment place, and certain competitions won't allow horses that aren't vaccinated. The EKKA this year required that all horses were vaccinated, and I'm pretty sure I read somewhere that PCANSW won't allow horses to compete at State run events without being vaccinated.

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post #3 of 15 Old 12-11-2013, 03:08 PM
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I haven't heard of Hendra. Can someone explain to me what it is? Causes? Effects? Where is the virus affecting horses?
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post #4 of 15 Old 12-11-2013, 04:20 PM
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OK, I looked it up....I am not talking to anyone from Australia anymore....I do not want that stuff here!

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post #5 of 15 Old 12-11-2013, 04:25 PM
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Rideordie: Cookie support required | Australian Veterinary Association explains it pretty well in terms of infection rate and mortality.

I'm no where near Australia so I can't really comment on that virus. All I can say is that in my area of the U.S we had a few rabies cases crop up in horses (no where near endemic level though). For a while all but two vets wouldn't come out unless you had had a rabies vaccine done. The two vets who were still coming out with or without a vaccine were undergoing rabies treatments and "didn't see the harm in one more bite".
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post #6 of 15 Old 12-11-2013, 04:30 PM
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I had to look it up too. One of the things that jumped out at me is that a study showed cats could pass it between the bats and horses? If that is true and the fact that it can be deadly to humans would make me believe this is one of those diseases to vaccinate for.

However - this opinion is purely based on what little I just read.

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post #7 of 15 Old 12-11-2013, 07:36 PM
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While we, in the U.S., always need to keep aware of diseases in other countries because they manage to always end up here, this doesn't seem to be something I need to have a panic attack over, anytime soon.

In terms of level of worry, mine start with rabies, tetanus, EPM, the various encephalitis, WNV.

At least that's how I feel if there is any credence to this article, which was updated 08-06-13, according to the web page.

What is Hendra virus?

Hendra virus is a zoonotic disease, which means it can transfer from animals to people.
Hendra virus can cause disease in horses but only rarely in humans. It can be transmitted from flying fox to horse, horse to horse, and horse to human.
There is no evidence that the virus can be transmitted from flying fox to human, or human to horse, or human to human.
Flying foxes are a natural reservoir for Hendra virus. Flying foxes do not show any signs of illness when infected with Hendra virus.
Although Hendra virus infection is periodically present in flying fox populations across Australia, the likelihood of horses becoming infected is very low.

The potential seriousness of Hendra virus infection for both humans and horses requires that workplace health and safety measures, to prevent infection, should be implemented at workplaces where there is occupational contact with horses. Sound hygiene and biosecurity measures should be adopted as a routine practice for all horse contact.
It is not yet time for U.S. horse owners to have a panic attack unless our vets or the CDC know something they're not telling us

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post #8 of 15 Old 12-11-2013, 07:54 PM
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I'm very glad that Hendra hasn't made it too far into NSW.

I considered the vaccine when it started becoming the recommended thing but after talking to my vets, we decide against it. They just didn't see the use in it when my horse is rarely in contact with others, when I don't travel with him, and when the closest virus appearance was hours away.

If it shows up in NSW in force, I'll probably be after the vaccine. But I don't necessarily think it should be mandatory. If you travel to shows etc, sure, it is best for it to be done. But if you have a trail plodder like me, or a pasture puff, the risk is far less.
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post #9 of 15 Old 12-12-2013, 12:39 AM
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Thankfully there is a great big desert in the middle of Australia, and its not made it over to our side of the country yet. So no I don't feel the need to vaccinate. But if I was in QLD or Northern NSW I'd be vaccinating.
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post #10 of 15 Old 12-12-2013, 12:52 AM
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Just Lovely! Like we don't have enough viruses and things to make our horses sick......OY!

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