All horses entering Malvern’s Three Counties Showground from March 1st will need to have been vaccinated against equine flu within the last six months and 21 days of the event they are attending, officials have said.

The measures have been put into place following expert guidance from the showground’s team of veterinarian and equine advisors after a recent UK equine influenza outbreak.

Equine flu recently shut down the racing industry for six days, with restrictions in movement put into place and a host of events cancelled. The highly-contagious disease causes respiratory tract problems that can cause permanent harm to the affected animal if not diagnosed and treated.

The International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI) last month issued official guidelines for shows and events, and urged owners to vaccinate their horses to help halt the spread of the disease.

Three Counties Showground’s Head of shows Diana Walton, said the new measures at the venue had been put into place to help protect horses.

“Equine flu is a serious concern to anyone involved in the industry and, as a responsible organisation, we have to play our part,” said Diana.

“After taking guidance from our team of highly-experienced equine experts we have decided that we have no alternative options but to enforce the FEI guidelines. This means that any horse, pony, donkey or mule attending an event at the showground must have been vaccinated as per the FEI requirements.”

The FEI guidelines state that: ‘Booster vaccinations must be administered at a maximum of 12 month intervals however, horses competing in events must have received a booster within six months and 21 days (and not within seven days) before arrival at the event’.

That means that any horse that isn’t correctly vaccinated will not be allowed to attend events at the showground, including Royal Three Counties Show on June 14 – 16.

Diana added: “Equine entries will have their passports checked and any animals found not to be complying with the FEI vaccination rules will not be allowed to enter the showground.

“We know how passionate the equine community is about the welfare of its animals and we’re counting on people’s support on this matter.”

The full FEI guidelines can be seen here: FEI Rule change in FEI requirements for Equine Influenza vaccination

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