Hendra Virus Outbreak

by / Wednesday, 20 July 2011 / Published in Horses, Large Animals, News Archive

HENDRA VIRUS CAN KILL…it’s a horrific thought but unfortunately the disease is here and all horse owners need to be prepared.

The good news is that scientists are making great progress in coming up with a vaccine, which could be available as early as next year. So in the meantime what can we do to try to reduce the risk of infection of the Hendra virus to our horses and us?

As fruit bats are the known carriers of the Hendra virus you need to eliminate your horse contacting them and their secretions:

  • Examine your property for plants and trees that may attract bats and ensure horse are unable to access the areas under these trees.
  • Never feed or water your horses under trees that bats may roost in. Water containers and feed containers are much better kept out in the open
  • Monitor your horses regularly for any changes in behaviour or signs of illness. If concerned call your veterinarian immediately for advice.
  • Preferably stable horses at night when bats are most active.

Every owner should have an idea of what their horse’s temperature, heart rate and respiratory rate should be, these are the main indicators of your horse’s health and, by taking them daily, will show any deviations.

Temperature               37° – 38.5°

Heart Rate                   30 – 45 beats per minute

Respiratory Rate         8 – 20 breaths per minute

Hendra Virus Symptoms.

  • Fever (temp over 40°)
  • Rapid onset of illness
  • Rapid deterioration
  • Nasal discharge
  • Respiratory distress

If your horse shows any of these symptoms call your vet immediately. Use PPE (personal protection equipment) ay all times and keep Hendra in mind while around your horse, if it all turns out ok, then you have lost nothing but gained some valuable experience
in following bio-security routines!!


  • Keep disposable gloves on hand
  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly after physical contact with your horse
  • Avoid the temptation to kiss your horse especially the muzzle… regardless of how tempting this may be.

















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