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Important Information for Point to Point Handlers

Important Information for Point to Point Handlers

****************Passports MUST be made available at the time of declaration for all point to point races**************




EQUINE INFLUENZA UPDATE – Friday 8th February 2019

The IHRB reiterate that racing will continue in Ireland with enhanced measures as follows:

  • • In order to be eligible to race, horses must have received a vaccine for equine influenza which contains Clade 1 virus within eight weeks of their race.
  • • This updated MANDATORY vaccination requirement is to be implemented under Rule 91 with effect from Monday 18th February.
  • • After this date horses will only be able to enter racecourse stables and race having had the appropriate vaccine within the previous eight weeks.
  • • It is advised that trainers and handlers take action IMMEDIATELY to comply with this in order to be able to race 6 clear days after vaccination.
  • • IHRB Veterinary Officers and Assistants will be carrying out veterinary inspections with increased scrutiny at the entrance to racecourse stables on all horses.
  • • Trainers and handlers are advised that if any horse shows any sign of respiratory disease they will not be allowed to enter racecourse stables or race.
  • • Trainers are strongly advised to check their runners close to travel to include taking their temperature to ensure that they are fit to race.
  • • Runners from Britain will not be permitted to race in Ireland until further notice.


We are aware that a small number of isolated cases of equine influenza continue to be confirmed in Ireland and that the situation in Britain continues to evolve. Horses will continue to be able to race across the north/south of the island of Ireland. This situation is being closely monitored.

Horses in training must be vaccinated for equine influenza in Ireland under Rule 90 and 91. The requirement above is an update relating to the type of vaccine and when it is given. As previously noted, the disease is being reported in vaccinated horses. Symptoms to be aware of range from an increased temperature, coughing and nasal discharge and the horse being off feed to more severe respiratory signs – your veterinary surgeon should be contacted for advice under current circumstances if these signs are present.

Testing for equine influenza is provided free of charge by the IEC – it is recommended that any trainer with any concerns should avail of this in order to establish their horses’ disease status. As with any contagious infectious disease outbreak, rapid diagnosis and effective management is key to recovery and minimising spread of disease.

Trainers and handlers who have concerns or questions in relation to this should contact,

The IEC on +353 (0)45 866266 or and/or Dr. Lynn Hillyer, Chief Veterinary Officer IHRB on 087 1925 366




What is the current issue?

There have been a number of confirmed cases of equine influenza in recent weeks across Europe.  ‘Equine ‘flu’ is present all the time in the equine population in Ireland, Britain and beyond.  We are normally able to stop it being a problem by ensuring that our ‘herd’ is protected via vaccination – vaccination reduces its spread and severity. Sometimes, that protection breaks down. We need to act quickly and together to safeguard the industry and minimise the impact on racing.


What should I do in general?

  • Assess your horses, talk to your vet about their vaccinations, take temperatures ideally
  • Take action if you see any of the following – off feed, temperature, cough, snotty nose
  • Booster vaccinations are recommended for horses that have not been vaccinated in the last six months – only some vaccines have the appropriate ‘strain’ in them – talk to your vet
  • All horses – not just those in training - on a premises should be vaccinated. Unvaccinated infected horses are a risk to vaccinated ones.
  • Group horses according to age – particular care with foals/youngsters
  • Isolate any new arrivals for at least 1, preferably 2 weeks – monitor their temperatures


What should I do if I suspect ‘flu’?

  • Ask your vet to test any horse(s) you’re worried about - it’s free a service offered by the Irish Equine Centre
  • Rest those horses while you’re waiting for a result
  • Talk to your vet about zoning the yard to preserve a ‘clean green’ area if possible
  • This may enable you to keep racing whilst still maintaining proper biosecurity around any cases but bear in mind that ‘flu’ is very contagious and can travel up to 50 yards in air
  • Isolate effectively – staff, equipment, vehicles – always deal with potential cases last
  • Clean then disinfect at the correct concentration
  • Minimise/stop movement on and off the premises until you know what the result(s) are


Influenza is a self-limiting disease i.e. the virus does not establish persistent infections and with correct management, an infected horse should return to full health and performance.


Trainers and handlers who have concerns or questions in relation to this should contact,


Dr Ann Cullinane, Head of Virology at 045 866266 or

and/or Dr. Lynn Hillyer, Chief Veterinary Officer, IHRB on 087 1925 366



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