Recumbent yearling case

An interesting case was presented to the Camden Equine Centre recently. A previously perfectly healthy yearling, was found in the field recumbent (lying down) and unable to stand.

The owners and attending veterinarian were able to move the horse into a float and bring it to us for further examination. The horse was placed into our padded isolation unit for our experts to examine and care for it.

As well as being recumbent, the filly developed seizures and was dull.

Based on these signs, the filly was diagnosed with an illness affecting her brain. The causes of equine brain lesions are numerous. As such the filly may have been suffering from a trauma, or several diseases including a tumor, congenital disease, or bacterial or viral diseases such as Hendra virus.

As this filly had not been vaccinated against Hendra Virus, the presence of this disease was possible in this case, although it was considered to be a low risk.

Due to the serious consequences of Hendra disease in both people and horses, our strict biosecurity protocols were put in place to avoid any other animals, staff or visitors to the clinic being put at risk, until the presence of Hendra virus was ruled out.

Through strict adherence these biosecurity protocols, and the expertise of our experienced veterinary staff, we are proud to say the whole team ensured the incident was managed safely and within all health and safety guidelines.

Once all tests for this highly fatal zoonotic disease came back negative, the cause of the issue was narrowed down to a non-infectious head lesion located in the brain.

Unfortunately, because the horse was still recumbent after two days and did not make proper attempts to stand, a decision was made to humanely euthanize the animal

We would like to take this occasion to remind all horse owners about the existence of this disease, and emphasise that a safe an effective vaccine exists. This case also highlights the importance of care, caution and diagnostic rigor.

Please do not hesitate to contact our clinic on 02 4655 0777 or your local veterinarian if you have any questions about vaccinations for Hendra.