Equine influenza

Australia has officially declared itself free of Equine Influenza (EI). Australia is the only country in the world to have eradicated EI and proved scientifically that the virus is absent.

EI is an exotic disease to Australia caused by a highly contagious virus that can be spread horse to horse or by humans on their skin, clothes and riding equipment.

The main clinical signs of EI are usually:

  • sudden increase in temperature (to between 39°C and 41°C)
  • deep, dry, hacking cough
  • watery nasal discharge, which may later contain pus.

Other signs can include:

  • depression
  • loss of appetite
  • laboured breathing
  • muscle pain and stiffness.

Affected horses, especially performance horses, can take weeks to recover.

Donkeys may be more severely affected than horses.

Once a horse has recovered and sufficient time has elapsed, the horse poses no risk to other horses.

Horse owners concerned about the health of their horses should contact their local vet immediately.

If a notifiable disease is suspected horse owners should contact:

  • Agriculture Customer Service Centre on 136 186
  • 24 hour Emergency Animal Disease Hotline on 1800 675 888
Page last updated: 22 Jul 2021