Disease Du Jour: Equine Influenza

In Episode 35, Dr. Wendy Vaala talks about equine influenza.
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Equine influenza changes, but more slowly than human influenza.

According to the Equine Disease Communication Center, from January 1, 2019, to date, there have been 101 confirmed or suspect cases of equine influenza in the United States. That doesn’t include the number of horses reported exposed to the virus, which was estimated to be more than 300 horses. Remember: Not all states require flu to be reported.

"Influenza never stays the same," said Wendy Vaala, VMD, a Diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine. She is a senior technical services veterinarian with Merck Animal Health. Vaala spent 25 years in private practice and in academia before joining Merck in 2004.

"We as people are accustomed to needing a new flu shot every year," continued Vaala. "We always hear about the human companies trying to put new strains into our flu vaccines. Human flu changes very readily. Equine flu also changes, but more slowly."

EquiManagement’s Disease Du Jour podcast is focused on equine research and current best practices. Disease Du Jour is brought to you in 2020 by Merck Animal Health.

In this podcast episode we will cover:

  • Why is it so hard to keep horses from getting equine influenza?
  • Vaccination is a horse's best protection, especially for horses that travel.
  • How can we get owners to vaccinate more?
  • What is "flu season" and when should we vaccinate in order to offer the best protection?
  • Glycoproteins of the influenza virus membrane, hemagglutinin (HA) and neuraminidase (NA), are important.
  • What have we learned from the Biosurveillance Survey?
  • Better to test than guess!
  • · How can vets know when they need to re-vaccinate in flu-prone areas or in the face of influenza in their regions?

We invite you to download, listen to and rate previous and future episodes of Disease Du Jour on iTunes, SoundCloud, Stitcher or your favorite podcast platform.

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Previous Episodes of Disease Du Jour

If you missed any of the previous episodes of Disease Du Jour, feel free to go back and catch up!

Episode 34 - Dr. Chrissie Schneider gives some tips and opinions about How to Talk to Horse Owners About Vaccination and how to reclaim vaccinations from the do-it-yourselfers.

Episode 33 - Dr. Tom Divers talks about tick-borne diseases in horses while focusing on Lyme disease.

Episode 32 - Dr. Alan Dorton talks about Thermochips for Horses, which are microchips that read body temperature through a smartphone app.

Episode 31 - Dr. Earl Guaghan of Merck Animal Health talks about Equine Wounds from a Veterinarian's Perspective.

Episode 30 - Dr. Duane Chappell of Merck Animal Health talks about the Unwanted Horse Veterinary Relief Campaign (UHVRC).

Episode 29 - Louise Southwood, BSc (Vet), BVSc, MS, PhD, DACVS, DACVECC talks about Equine Colic from a Veterinarian's Perspective. Southwood is a Professor of Emergency Medicine and Critical Care at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine.

Episode 28 - Wendy Vaala, VMD, DACVIM, a senior technical services veterinarian with Merck Animal Health, discusses parasite control in young horses.

Episode 27 - Nicola Pusterla,DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DAVDC-Equine. He is a professor of equine internal medicine and dentistry at the University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine, talks about The Latest on EPM.

Episode 26 - Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc (Guelph), DACVIM, a professor at the University of Guelph's Ontario Veterinary College, talks about veterinarian biosecurity and the COVID-10 pandemic.

Episode 25 - Christine Royal, DVM, DDJ, Director of Professional Services for Merck Animal Health’s companion animal and equine business, talks about veterinarian wellness from the joint Merck/AVMA survey results.

Episode 23 - Nicholas Pusterla, DVM, PhD, DACVIM, DAVDC-Equine, from the University of California, Davis, on Equine Coronavirus.

Episode 22 - Nathaniel A. White II, DVM, MS, DACVS, on the Equine Disease Communication Center.

Episode 21 - Steve O’Grady, DVM, MRCVS, a farrier with 40 years of experience who owns Virginia Therapeutic Farriery, on White Line Disease.

Episode 20 - Rick Mitchell, DVM, MRCVS, DACVSMR, Certified ISELP member, of Fairfield Equine Associates in Newtown, Connecticut, on Joint Injections.

Episode 19 - Duncan Peters, DVM, DACVSMR, Certified ISELP Member and co-owner of East-West Equine Sports Medicine in Lexington, Kentucky, talks about equine tendon and ligament injuries and treatments.

Episode 18Tracy Turner, DVM, MS, ACVS, ACVSMR, Fellow American Academy of Thermology, owner of Turner Equine Sports Medicine and Surgery, talks about the Equitarian Initiative.

Episode 17Robert Holland, DVM PhD, who is in private practice in Kentucky, talks about equine strangles.

Episode 16 - Craig Barnett, DVM, Director of the Equine Veterinary Professional Services segment at Merck Animal Health, talks about the Merck Equine Respiratory Biosurveillance program and what it means to veterinarians, researchers and the horse industry.

Episode 15 - Raul Bras, Raul Bras, DVM, CJF (Certified Journeyman Farrier), a shareholder in Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, talks about veterinarian-farrier relationships. Bras' professional focus is on equine podiatry, and he travels from his home base in Lexington throughout the country and the world. He is the 2019 president of the Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners.

Episode 14 - Angela Pelzel-McCluskey, DVM, MS, is a National Equine Epidemiologist for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services. She discussed equine infectious anemia (EIA).

Episode 13 - Michele L. Frazer, DVM, DACVIM, DACVECC, is an Associate veterinarian at Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Kentucky. She discussed diarrhea in adult horses and foals.

Episode 12 - Jack Easley, DVM, MS, DABVP, DAVDC (Eq), is the owner of Easley Equine Dentistry based in Shelbyville, Kentucky. Easley talks about how much has changed in equine dentistry, the wide variety of dental diseases horses can have, the need for a good dental exam with the right tools, the use of radiographs, and what horse owners expect today in equine dental care.

Episode 11 - This episode—featuring Drs. Ernie Bailey of the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky, and Samantha Brooks of the University of Florida—covers the topic of Genes as Management Tools. We discuss how genetics touches equine veterinarians on a day-to-day basis; adaptation and evolution; fragile foal syndrome; OCD; roaring; reproduction; and infectious disease.

Episode 10 - Angela Pelzel-McCluskey, DVM, MS, who is a National Equine Epidemiologist for the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), Veterinary Services, discusses vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV).

Episode 9 - Kent Allen, DVM, owner of Virginia Equine Imaging in Middleburg, Virginia, and co-founder of ISELP, discusses lameness diagnosis and ISELP.

Episode 8Roberta Dwyer, DVM, MS, DACVPM (epidemiology specialty), discusses biosecurity factors that equine veterinarians need to understand in order to best prevent and control disease spread on client farms.

Episode 7Martin Nielsen, DVM, PhD, DipEVPC, DACVM, one of the world’s leading equine parasitology researchers who is an associate professor at the University of Kentucky’s Maxwell H. Gluck Equine Research Center. Nielsen discusses equine parasites and the value of checking the efficacy of dewormers; the evolution of parasites and the science surrounding them; recent papers on parasite modeling; evaluating parasite control programs, combination deworming practices and the science behind them—good and bad.

Episode 6 - Peter Timoney, MVB, MS, PhD, FRCVS, the Frederick Van Lennep Chair in Equine Veterinary Science and a Professor at the Gluck Equine Research Center at the University of Kentucky. Timoney discusses equine infectious diseases, with a focus on factors that compromise normal pregnancy and the adolescent horse.

Episode 5 - Robert Holland, DVM, PhD, a private practice veterinarian in the Central Kentucky area focusing on respiratory problems and infectious diseases, talks about Respiratory Tips from the Field.

Episode 4 - Bonnie Barr, VMD, DACVIM, an internal medicine specialist at Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Kentucky, talks about common neonatal problems in this podcast.

Episode 3 - Tom Chambers, PhD, who heads the OIE Reference Laboratory for equine influenza at the University of Kentucky, discusses equine influenza.

Episode 2 - Tom Riddle, DVM, DACT (hon), a founding partner of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, discusses breeding season procedures that he has developed over his decades-long practice.

Episode 1 - Steve Reed, DVM, DACVIM, of Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, discusses equine herpesvirus and equine herpesvirus myeloencephalopathy.

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EquiManagement’s Disease Du Jour podcast is focused on equine research and current best practices. Disease Du Jour is brought to you in 2020 by Merck Animal Health.

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