Island Life Magazine Ltd December 2008/January 2009 - Page 85

EQUESTRIAN - Sponsored by Brickfields and Froghill Tack life discharge from the nose, excessive salivation, swelling of the eyes and/or head. If any of these symptoms occur, isolate the horse and consult your vet immediately. Whilst we currently remain AHS free in the UK and an outbreak is unlikely to be just around the corner, it is imperative that horse owners are aware of the disease and preventative measures that can be put into place so that if it does appear we can react quickly and damage to the health of our horses and the industry as a whole is limited. Photograph courtesy of Institute for Animal Health, Pirbright and screens to repel the carrier midges are a crucial element in preventative horse management. Controlling the midge Because midges that bite horses tend to breed around stable yards, you can help reduce the population and the risk by cleaning up areas of damp mud around leaky taps, troughs and dung heaps. You can also help protect your horse from the midges by housing them in closed stables until the sun is fully up or during the late afternoon when midge activity is at its height. Protection can also be offered by using sweet itch rugs that cover the whole body and head and by screening stables with pyrethroid protected mesh. Other infections Because AHS has never been seen in Britain it is possible that in the early stages its more dramatic signs may mistakenly be supposed to be caused by anthrax, infectious anaemia, equine viral arteritis (swelling of the walls of an artery), trypanosomosis (presence of a microscopic parasite in the blood), equine encephalosis (inflammation of the brain), piroplasmosis (tick-bite fever) or purpura haemorrhagica (bleeding under the skin). What to look for Should AHS be suspected, horse owners should look out for specific signs of illness in their horses including The Island's new funky radio station www.wightfm.com 85