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Equine Influenza in Argentina – LATEST

We have been notified by DEFRA that they have been informed by the Argentinian authorities of an emerging situation of regarding Equine Influenza in Argentina and they are concerned about ponies that have recently been imported into the UK. A letter from DEFRA is attached explaining the situation.


Please see below the HPA’s rules on Vaccinations:


  1.             Vaccinations against Equine Influenza for 2018.  All ponies must have been vaccinated against Equine Influenza:

Either by a veterinary surgeon who is a member or fellow of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS);

Or, if vaccinated outside the UK, by a veterinarian licensed to practice in the country in which the horse was vaccinated.

and from 1st January 2018 it is mandatory for annual booster vaccinations to be given:

Either within 365 days of the previous vaccination;

Or in a calendar window of March and April but  this is only for ponies with a current up-to-date vaccination record (as per below) on 1st March (see Note).

  • Vaccinations must be recorded in each pony’s passport, dated, signed and stamped by the administering veterinary surgeon. Equine Influenza vaccinations administered to ponies outside the EU and recorded, dated, signed and stamped in an identity document that indisputably corresponds to the pony in question by an appropriately licensed veterinarian will be recognised by the HPA.
  • Ponies first vaccinated prior to 1 Jan 2014. The Equine Passports of ponies first vaccinated against Equine Influenza prior to 1st January 2014 must show that they have received booster vaccinations annually from the year they received their first vaccination.
  • Ponies first vaccinated between 1 Jan 2014 to 1 Jan 2016. The Equine Passports of ponies first vaccinated against Equine Influenza between 1 January 2014 and 1 January 2016 must show that they have received two primary vaccinations against Equine Influenza given no less than 21 days and no more than 92 days apart. Thereafter, they must have been given booster injections annually.
  • Ponies first vaccinated after 1 Jan 2016. The Equine Passports of ponies first vaccinated against Equine Influenza after 1 January 2016 must show that they have received two primary vaccinations against Equine Influenza given no less than 21 days and no more than 92 days apart, plus a third booster within 90 to 215 days after the second vaccination.  Thereafter, they must have been given booster injections annually.
  • Ponies without a valid vaccination record. Ponies with no recorded previous vaccination history and ponies whose vaccination record does not comply as per the above must re-start a primary vaccination course as per (iii) above, two primary vaccinations, a third booster and thereafter booster injections annually.
  • Playing Restrictions. No polo pony will be allowed to play at a club or in a tournament until at least 7 days after they have received their second primary vaccination or their annual booster.

Note: Mixing of large numbers of ponies during the polo season increases the risk of exposure to the influenza virus and immunity has been demonstrated to be strongest during the first 6 months after a booster vaccination.

Pony Welfare Report Form

Incident Report Form

Biosecurity and Guidelines for Notifiable Contagious Diseases


The HPA rules state that any suspected case of Ringworm, Strangles and EHV must be notified to the HPA and that a pony cannot be played again until signed off by a vet. These guidelines have been produced to help Players, Club Managers and Welfare Representatives.

The spread of equine disease is a perpetual risk given that polo yards have a large turnover of ponies including ponies that have been travelled from other countries. Strangles and ringworm in particular are highly contagious equine diseases, and suspected outbreaks of Equine Herpesvirus (EHV) have recently been reported. All owners and Welfare Officers are encouraged to read the HBLB Codes of Practice to prevent specific diseases. Available online at http://codes.hblb.org.uk/.


To safeguard the horse population within your yard, train all staff in disease prevention, hygiene, identification, and control procedures.

  • Disease Prevention

    0.Isolate new arrivals for a period of 10 days or introduce horses from properties with a known high health status only. Isolate and pay particular attention to horses from sales complexes, from unknown mixed population yards and those that have used commercial horse transport servicing mixed populations.
    0.Verify the vaccine status of new arrivals.
    0.Keep records of horse movements so that contacts can be traced in the event of a disease outbreak.

  • Hygiene Procedures

    0.Regularly clean and disinfect stables between inmates.
    0.Clean and disinfect equipment and horse transport between horses.
    0.Remove as much organic material as possible before disinfection.
    0.Control rodents and keep feed in rodent-proof containers.
    0.Have separate water and feed buckets, grooming kit, rugs etc for each pony.

  • Identification

    The following are a set of vital signs for the normal healthy horse and appropriate examinations for general health:

    • Temperature 36.5-38.5C

    • Breathing rate 8-15 breaths/min

    • Heart rate (at rest) 25-45 beats/min

    • Capillary refill time (in gums) – 1-2secs

    • Look for eye or nose discharges

    • Observe how the horse is standing

    • Check for consistency and number of droppings

    • Check consumption from water buckets

    • Assess horse’s general demeanour

  • Control

    0.Contact your veterinary surgeon if any of your horses show clinical signs of sickness and isolate horses at the first sign of sickness until an infectious or contagious disease has been ruled out. Do not move sick horses except for isolation, veterinary treatment or under veterinary supervision.
    0.Maintain controlled access for vehicles and visitors.
    0.Provide hand washing facilities and hand disinfection gel for staff handling groups of horses and provide separate protective clothing and footwear for handling and treating sick horses.
    0.Attend to sick horses last (ie feed, water and treat) or use separate staff. Extract taken from the NTF Code of Practice for Infectious Diseases of Racehorses in Training – June 2012

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