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1000 Vets And Racehorse Trainers Now Signed Up To Tell Tail™!

13 years ago

22nd September, 2011 10h36

Tell-Tail Links logo Since the 1st March 2010 a growing number of vets and racehorse trainers have signed up to be alerted to any recorded equine influenza cases in the UK, thanks to a service provided by the Animal Health Trust (AHT) and Merial Animal Health. Tell Tail™, the UK’s first equine influenza (EI) text alert service, provides vet practices with what could be invaluable information in the face of a potential outbreak, says Merial’s Dr Emma Batson. ”Vets are notified of an EI outbreak within 48 hours of confirmed diagnosis. Not only does this allow them to alert their clients, but we believe that it will also help to encourage horse owners to become more compliant with vaccination schedules. “ “Those who have registered for the service received 10 alerts in 2010 notifying them of outbreaks in 9 different counties: Shropshire, Lincolnshire, Worcestershire, Surrey, Lanarkshire, Hampshire, Leicestershire, Cumbria and 2 in Nottinghamshire. Vets have already received 5 alerts in 2011 notifying them of outbreaks in South Wales, Wiltshire, Surrey, Lanarkshire and Gloucestershire.” “Currently it is estimated that only a third of the UK horse population is vaccinated for EI,” says Dr Batson, “This situation is not only a potential welfare issue, but it also provides practices with a significant opportunity to increase the number of horses protected against EI, resulting in a win-win situation for all.” Dr Richard Newton, Head of Epidemiology and Disease Surveillance at the AHT, is delighted with the scheme and hopes all equine vets will sign up: “We believe Tell Tail™ marks an important step in the quest to help minimise the risk of an EI outbreak in the UK. “EI doesn’t have a carrier state, which means that it never goes away and re-emerges, instead it circulates continuously,” says Dr Newton. “So without continued surveillance we could easily lose track of it. We are regularly contacted after a Tell Tail™ alert has been sent out, highlighting that Tell Tail™ is already helping to increase awareness and surveillance and we need to ensure this continues. Vaccination is our best defence against EI, but to remain effective the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Expert Surveillance Panel needs to be in a position to update recommendations based on the latest situation in the field,” he adds “and this information can only be gathered via effective surveillance.” “We hope that as well as allowing practices to track and respond to outbreaks in their area, the alerts will continue to encourage vets to send in samples from animals with cold and flu-like symptoms. This is a free service which in turn provides us with more information to circulate within the industry, allowing everyone to be more effective at managing the disease.” Andy Durham, partner from the Liphook Equine Hospital, was one of the first UK vets to sign up for the service which he claims is “invaluable” and “ensures we know about an outbreak almost immediately. The regular alerts keep equine flu front of mind. Vaccination against equine flu is very important to the practice business, but we need to be aware of complacency in the formulation of vaccine products which are slipping away from their relevance to currently circulating flu strains. Equine vets need to continue to critically review their vaccine brand choice in the light of OIE recommendations. Currently only 1 UK vaccine contains an OIE recommended American clade 1 strain, the remaining 3 brands contain out of date strains, between 13 to 18 years old which are not recommended by the OIE. With less horses being vaccinated, most of them with non-OIE-recommended vaccines, and 15 outbreaks in the last 18 months, the veterinary industry must take more interest in this situation. The growing threat of widespread vaccine breakdown is in nobody’s interest.” Sophia Chinn from Alnorthumbria vets is the 1000th person to register for Tell Tail2! “I was very impressed when I was told about Tell Tail™ and the information is so useful when discussing vaccination with our clients. I’ll look forward to receiving future alerts!” Tell Tail™ is a free service and to register all vets need to do visit and click on the Tell Tail™ link, or speak to their Equine Territory Manager.

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