With equine flu forcing horse racing to be shut down nationwide, horse owners run the risk of being uninsured if their animals are not vaccinated against against this virus.
The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) called off all four horse racing meeting fixtures due to take place on Thursday February 7, after three vaccinated horses tested positive for equine flu.
This afternoon, the BHA announced that racing will not resume until Wednesday February 13 at the earliest, including fixtures scheduled by the Point-to-Point Authority.
This is the latest in a series of outbreaks of the disease in 2019 – with others reported in Essex, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and Suffolk.
Concern over the spread of the highly-contagious disease has thrown all upcoming meetings into doubt and sparked worry amongst the bloodstock industry, which is preparing for the new breeding season.
Horse owners should contact their broker to check what the terms of their policy are and see what protection it offers. Equine flu is generally not specifically excluded from equine insurance cover, but it is commonly a condition of a policy that the insured horse must be vaccinated against equine flu.
It is always the case that the insured must at all times provide proper care and attention to the insured horse and do all things possible to minimise any loss.
All British racehorses are vaccinated against equine flu but it is not compulsory for the wider horse population to be vaccinated against the disease.
This strain has affected vaccinated horses, although symptoms are usually more mild than in unvaccinated horses and include a raised temperature, a cough and nasal discharge.
Horse owners that do not race are urged to consider vaccinating their animals, if they haven’t already done so, and racehorse trainers should follow BHA advice to give horses who haven’t had a vaccination in the past six months a booster and follow precautionary measures.
This is a serious situation for all horse owners, as we wait to see what the full impact of this disease will be.