Hendra virus is a deadly disease that has become endemic in Australia. It is transmitted by bats, via their urine, faeces or birthing fluids, to horses via contaminated food or water. The virus can then be transmitted from horses to humans, and has a 50% mortality rate in humans. It is a very acute disease that results in either or both of severe neurological, respiratory or even colic symptoms in horses, progresses rapidly, eventually resulting in death or termination of the affected animal.
While cases of the hendra virus infection in horses have only been recorded in Queensland and New South Wales, the virus has been discovered in bats in South Australia, so the risk of contracting the disease in the Limestone Coast/West Wimmera region is a real one.
Because of the severity of this disease and its zoonotic potential, it is highly recommended that all horses be immunised against it—vaccination is the only protection available for both your horse and yourself!
Vaccination can start at 6 months of age—
Initial course; 2 shots 3 – 6 weeks apart, followed by a booster at 6 months after the 2nd shot.
Further booster shots are required annually to maintain immunity.