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Horse sickness can be treated says Bapsfontein vet

Doctor Evert Olivier gives advise on ensuring your horses do not get sick.

This past week multiple positive cases of African Horse Sickness (AHS) were confirmed in Gauteng and the rest of the country.

AHS is an infectious but non-contagious arthropod-borne viral disease affecting all species of equine caused by an orbivirus of the family Reoviridae and characterised by alterations in the respiratory and circulatory functions.

People should make sure to protect their horses against this deadly infection.

Steps Doctor Evert Olivier, a vet at Bapsfontein Animal Hospital, advises making sure horses do not get sick:
• Take temperatures daily. Check for swellings around the eyes, legs and body.

• Use a vet to make a diagnosis. Take blood for confirmation. Blood results, unfortunately, can take a few days but it helps to confirm what virus is causing the symptoms.

It helps the vaccine producers to update the vaccines and also helps the state to control the equine movement and protect our export market. It helps the vet to know what viruses are active in the area so that other patients can be diagnosed earlier.

• Start symptomatic treatment as soon as possible. Anti-inflammatories and heart-supportive medication are available to increase your horse’s chance of survival. Unregistered products can put a lot of strain on the already compromised organs.

• Reduce the challenge. Control midges with a good DEET (it is the active ingredient in many repellent products. It is widely used to repel biting pests such as mosquitoes and ticks) containing products like vet brands summer spray.nStay away from products containing ineffective ingredients like citronella oil.

• Vaccinate yearly. Buy AHS vaccines in advance as stocks are very scarce during vaccination season.

If any assistance is needed send Bapsfontein Animal Hospital a WhatsApp on 076 441 8677 or call the 24-hour emergency landline on 011 964 3919.

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