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We are an exclusively equine vet practice carrying out first and second opinion work. We take great pride in providing the best possible service to all of our patients whether they are top-level competition horses, family pets or donkeys. All are very welcome and we are recognised locally as providing experienced and empathic care to the many animals we look after.







*FLU OUTBREAK* - Latest Updates


Update 18th Feb 2019

There have been an increased number of horses being identified with Equine Influenza (EI) and some of these have been identified in Sussex:

  1. A group of 3 unvaccinated non-thoroughbreds on 11th February.
  2. 1 single unvaccinated non-thoroughbred on 13th February.


This is understandably causing real concern within the horse owning public. However there are some things that need to be carefully taken into consideration. The reasons that there are more horses being identified with EI are twofold:

  1. There has been an increase in circulating EI in Northern Europe since the end of December 2018. The reason for this is unclear and could be down to many factors. There have been reported outbreaks in Ireland and certainly some of the current cases can be linked to the recent arrival of horses from Ireland.
  2. EI is endemic in the UK. In other words it is found frequently in the horse population in the UK and as horse owners are now very aware of EI many more horses than normal are being tested for EI. It is a simple fact that the more horses that are tested the more cases of EI will be found.


The Animal Health Trust (AHT) have never and still do not advise that any non-thoroughbred event be cancelled nor that there is any restriction of movement in non-thoroughbreds. They do advise that given the fact that there is more EI being identified that horse owners should be extremely vigilant in observing their horses for any signs of EI: dry, hacking cough, nasal discharge, raised temperature (over 38.5oC).


One of the problems that have been highlighted by the current EI situation is that vaccinating horses against EI has not be adequate in the past. Most events have had rules stating that a horse should be vaccinated but then that rule is not enforced and passports are either not examined or horses are allowed to attend an event if not vaccinated. One of the worst outbreaks in the past few weeks was in Worcestershire where almost 20 horses have been affected. It is probable that the spread occurred due to horses meeting at an event and most of the effected horses were not vaccinated.


There is no doubt that horses that attend an event or travel to mix with other horses should be vaccinated and in an ideal world ALL horses should be vaccinated if over 5 months old. For a horse to be declared fully vaccinated it must:


  1. Have the first 2 primary vaccine boosters administered between 21 days and 92 days apart and then have 6 clear days following the second vaccination booster. This means that the horse can attend an event 7 days after the second booster vaccine.
  2. A third vaccine booster must be given between 150 and 215 days.
  3. An annual booster must be given within the calendar year.
  4. Horses competing under FEI rules should be vaccinated every 6 months not annually.


Although the above should  provide protection for the vast majority of horses it is true that the levels of protective immunity do start to decline after 6 months and there for maximum immunity requires booster vaccinations every 6 months. Today (18th February 2019) the AHT have stated that given the increased frequency of EI outbreaks being identified  that horses should be vaccinated with a booster if they have had the last vaccine booster over 6 months ago. Some events are stating that they wish that any horse attending that event must be vaccinated within 6 months. This is down to the event organisers and if they ask for this then participants will have little choice other than to obey these rules.


Please remain very vigilant and if we do the horse world can still continue in the same manner in which it has before last week.


The British Horse Racing Authority (BHRA) last night lifted the ban on racing in the UK. The decision has not been taken lightly and they have implemented several measures to reduce the risk of any further outbreaks. These include enhanced biosecurity protocols at all race meetings and restrictions on movement of horses from some race yards that are deemed high risk.

This in practical terms means that the current outbreak can be viewed as over. However it is very important that the equine world remains vigilant and horses are closely monitored for any signs of Equine Influenza (EI): a harsh, drying cough, nasal discharge and a raised temperature above 38.5oC.

It is likely that in the light of the current outbreak more non-thoroughbred events will require horses travelling to an event are fully vaccinated against EI. If this is the case then the event organisers should inform any participants.

There have been increased reports of EI across Northern Europe this year and therefore the risk of further outbreaks remains higher than at other times. Please be aware though that EI cases are reported in this country on almost a monthly basis as the disease in endemic in the UK.

Please remain vigilant but it looks like we are returning to normal.


Equine Flu update 9am 11.2.19

A further 4 cases of Equine Influenza (EI) in vaccinated racehorses have been reported in Suffolk. The British Horse Racing Authority (BHRA) will be issuing a statement later today as to whether the ban on racing will be extended beyond Wednesday 13th February 2019.

We can be reassured that due to the decisive decision of the BHRA to suspend racing last week all racehorses are currently in isolation. This has massively reduced the risk of EI spreading beyond the racing world.

The advice from the Animal Health Trust (AHT) remains the same as yesterday. In that the most important action the non-racing equine world can perform is to be extremely vigilant and look for any signs that a horse may have EI (a harsh, drying cough, nasal discharge and a temperature above 38.5 oC). 

It is being recommended that due to the heightened risk of EI spreading beyond the racing industry that horses that have not had a EI (flu) vaccine within the last 6 months would benefit from being re-vaccinated as this will maximise their chance of having protective immunity. 

Vaccination provides two main benefits:

They protect the individual horse and either stop that horse from contracting EI or reduce the clinical severity of the disease.

They reduce the amount of virus that an infected horse sheds. This reduces the chance of other horses contracting EI.

For vaccinations to be most effective 70% of the horses that are in contact with each other (i.e. on the same yard/field or at the same event) need to be vaccinated.

The AHT (and BEF) are not currently recommending that any non-racing equine event be cancelled.

Latest Equine Flu update: 9.30am 10.2.19

A further 2 cases of Equine Influenza (EI) in vaccinated racehorses have been diagnosed at the same yard as the first cases reported on 4th February. A new case has been reported in Hertfordshire but this horse was not vaccinated and is not a thorough-bred.

Very sadly in an unusual development there has been a reported fatality in a an outbreak of unvaccinated horses also in Suffolk. The horse was put down as it developed laminitis as a complication of EI. The clinical history of this case is not clear and there may have been a pre-existing condition that has meant that this horse developed much more severe EI than any of the other reported cases. This case does highlight the protective effects of having horses vaccinated against EI and why it is a real concern that 70% of horses in the UK have never been vaccinated against EI.
The AHT is also recommending horse owners re-vaccinate their horse if their vaccination was carried out over 6 months ago, in order to maximise the chance of having protective immunity. There is no advice on which vaccine/s would be most effective and therefore all licensed EI vaccines in the UK are presumed to be equally effective. A vaccine can only get a licence in the UK if it can be demonstrated that it provides comprehensive protection against all known EI strains in the UK.
The AHT have not recommended that any non-racing equine events are cancelled and this outbreak is still being considered a racing industry problem.
Please remain extremely vigilant for any signs of EI in your horses: A harsh, dry cough, nasal discharge, lethargy and an increase in temperature (>38.5°c).

Latest Equine Flu update: 9.30am 9.2.19

The Animal Health Trust (AHT) have now confirmed that outbreak in Suffolk and Cheshire is the Equine Flu type FC1. Further cases have been reported at the Cheshire race yard. The AHT advice remains unchanged and the outbreak is still regarded as a racehorse industry problem. The AHT state that there is no recommendation that any non-racing, equine events are cancelled but this might change depending on how the disease develops. Please remain vigilant and monitor your horses for any signs of EI: harsh, dry coughing, nasal discharge, lethargy and an increase in temperature (>38.5°c).

** latest update at 5.30pm 8.2.19**

We would like to make everyone aware that the British Equestrian Federation (BEF) have changed their advice on which vaccines they are recommending be used to boost a horse’s immunity against Equine Influenza. They are no longer advising that the vaccine should be either Proteq or Prequenza. This is because all licenced vaccines in the UK should be effective.

** latest update 5pm 8.2.19**
There have been 3 confirmed cases of Equine Flu (EI) in racehorses in Cheshire. The virus type has still not been identified either in this yard or the first yard in Suffolk. The advice from the AHT remains the same as it was this morning. Please see our post below for more information. We will try and keep you up to date.



Following our news update yesterday we would like to clarify the situation as of this morning. The Equine Influenza (EI) outbreak has been identified in one race yard in Suffolk. Racehorses (not the infected horses but potential in contact horses) from this yard had travelled to Ayr and Ludlow racecourses. As a sensible precaution and to limit any potential spread of EI the British Horse Racing Authority has imposed a ban on racing for 7 days. All in contact racehorses are currently being tested to identify whether there has been any spread of EI outside the current affected race yard.

The following facts are very important:

1. The EI virus has not yet been identified and therefore it is still unknown which EI virus has infected the race horses.

2. All in contact racehorses are currently being tested for EI and these results will not be known for 48 hours.

3. The infected horses had all received a vaccination with either Proteq or Prequenza  before they became infected.

4. It is not known which vaccine/s will be most effective but is must be borne in mind that all vaccines licenced for use in the UK have been licenced on the basis of providing comprehensive cover against all known strains of EI.

5. Influenza is not a fatal disease and mostly affects young horses (those aged 2 years or under).

6. The ban on the movement of horses only affects racehorses. There is no official advice stating that any other part of the industry must impose a travel ban.

The Animal Health Trust (the organisation responsible for disease surveillance in the UK) has issued advice as of this morning:

1. Owners should be vigilant and observe their horses for any signs of EI: Signs to look out for are a harsh or dry cough, nasal discharge, lethargy and an increase in temperature (>38.5°c)

2. They have advised that horses which have not had a booster vaccine within 6 months may benefit from having a booster vaccination.

There is no need for real concern at present as the situation is still not clear. The situation will become much clearer by Monday and at this point we should know whether we are dealing with a single yard problem or a potential national EI outbreak.

We would like to reassure everyone that we are fully prepared and will take any action required to help.

Priors Farm Equine Vet

Priors Farm Equine Surgery is situated in the village of Forest Row, East Sussex. Established in 1978 by Philip Glyn it was taken over in 2008 by Ben Chilvers and Duncan Harrison, and now comprises a team of four dedicated equine veterinary surgeons.

Priors Farm Equine Vet have built a reputation for being caring and compassionate, and we aim to spend as much time as possible getting to know our patients and their owner’s so that we provide an unrivalled service. Along with a great reputation we have a purpose-built diagnostic and surgical facility with stabling.

We can provide 24-hour nursing care when required. Surgery is performed by a world-class surgeon giving your horse the absolute best service available. Please use the ‘Services‘ menu to see the full range of services that we can provide for you and your horse.

On Wednesdays we offer a reduced visit fee scheme which reduces your visit fee to £10.00 inc. VAT Please click on Reduced Visit Fee Scheme or telephone the practice for ways in which you can reduce your visit fee for routine work.

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All of our veterinary surgeons have obtained Certificates from the RCVS. These further qualifications indicate that we have been examined and proclaimed experienced and competent in the corner stones of veterinary medicine: Orthopaedics and internal medicine. We are one of very few practices in the UK which offers this reassurance. If a veterinary surgeon has not attained a certificate they should be asked why. We are very proud that Priors Farm Equine Surgery has attained the RCVS’s Equine General practice standard. This has placed Priors Farm as one of the few equine practices in the area to have been inspected and approved by the RCVS. For more information please see RCVS Practice Standards.

We are also delighted to have attained approval as a Veterinary Nurse Training Practice. For more information please see Veterinary Nurse Training Practice

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