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09 February 2019EQUINE (HORSE) FLU: What you need to know

Equine flu is caused by various strains of the influenza virus that affect the upper and lower respiratory tract of horses, donkeys and mules. The virus is similar to the flu virus that affects people, but it is not identical, so horses cannot be infected by human influenza or vice versa. Equine flu is endemic in the British horse population. Once the virus has been inhaled, it invades the lining of the airway, which becomes inflamed, producing a very sore throat and a nasty cough. This damage causes patches of the membranes lining the airways to ulcerate, which disrupts the clearance of mucus and debris from the airways. Bacteria invade these damaged areas leading to further infections.

As with human version, equine flu is very contagious. With an incubation period of one to five days, it spreads rapidly. The disease is spread by the virus being released into the atmosphere by infected animals. It is mainly acquired through inhalation of virus from ill animals coughing and spluttering. Indirect spread is also possible via buckets or grooms/handlers/nurses/vets. Unlike strangles and some other infections, the flu virus does not linger nor survive for long outside the horse.

Signs of equine flu

A very high temperature of 39-41C (103-106F) which lasts for one to three days.

A frequent harsh, dry cough that can last for several weeks.

A clear, watery nasal discharge that may become thick and yellow or green.

Enlarged glands under the lower jaw.

Clear discharge from the eyes and redness around eyes.

Depression and loss of appetite.

Filling of the lower limbs.

If you suspect your horse has equine influenza, you should contact your vet. As soon as a horse shows any suspect signs, strict hygiene and isolation procedures should be adhered to. Horses that have been in contact with an affected animal should be carefully monitored and should not attend shows. It is recommended that horses on a stable yard with an outbreak of equine flu do not leave the premises while the outbreak is on-going.


An accurate diagnosis of equine flu can be made by:

recognising the clinical signs and the history of rapid spread between horses;

isolation of the virus through nasal or nasopharyngeal swabs;

rising antibody levels in blood (serum) samples taken early in the course of the disease and two to three weeks later;

history of recent contact with a confirmed case of the disease.

Vaccinated horses may show signs, but these are usually milder than those experienced by unvaccinated horses.


Horses with respiratory infections should be given complete rest. Ideally they should not restart any strenuous exercise until two weeks after the signs have gone. Good stable ventilation and management is essential. Exposure to dust and spores should be minimised, as horses with respiratory infections are more susceptible to airway irritation. It is best to switch to dust-free bedding and feed-soaked hay, or better still haylage and feed this from the floor. If weather permits, affected horses benefit from being turned out for at least part of the day once their temperatures have returned to normal. This is especially important in the recovery stages. Antibiotics have no effect against a virus, but can be useful to control secondary bacterial invasion. This is a risk in foals, which can succumb to fatal pneumonia. Medications to help breathing can prove beneficial.


Equine flu is difficult to control, especially in horses that are frequently transported and mixed extensively. Outbreaks are most common when young susceptible horses are brought together at sales and shows, or for weaning and training. Vaccination is the preferred method of control.

08 February 2019LITTER BUGS

For anyone wanting to do something different there's a local beach clean at Black Beach, Lynemouth on Friday 22nd February 2019 starting at 10.00 a.m.

Take part and declare that litter pollution – that degrades the beauty of our environment and threatens to harm wildlife – is not acceptable.

Will you help clean up this country?

Great British Spring Clean - 22nd March - 23rd April 2019

Help make history and make the Great British Spring Clean 2019 the country’s biggest-ever, mass-action environmental campaign.

We want to inspire 500,000 people to join forces to clear litter, including single-use plastic, from our streets, parks and beaches, recycling as much as possible.


How can I contact the council tax team?

If you require any further details, please contact: Tel. 01670 624884 

Email: counciltax@northumberland.gov.uk

Write to:
Council Tax Section
Northumberland County Council
Wansbeck Square
NE63 9XL 

08 February 2019WINTER GRITTING

Be aware of possible freezing conditions and drive with care. In continuing cold weather conditions, when widespread ice is forecast, and as resources become available, Northumberland County Council will progressively start gritting:

• main footpaths and car parks in town centres

• busy urban shopping areas

• important pedestrian links

• footpaths next to large schools.

Any problem areas should be reported to the Customer Services Centre on 0345 600 6400 or you can report via www.northumberland.gov.uk/winter which will then be logged directly on the Severe Weather system and appropriate action will be taken.


08 February 2019ACTION FRAUD

Fraud is wrongful or criminal deception intended to cause you financial loss or cause another personal to have some sort of personal gain.

Fraud comes in many forms but you can take some simple steps to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

1. Do not give any personal information (name, address, bank details e-mail or phone number) without being sure that they are a credible organisation or person.
2. Never send information via e-mail or in answer to an e-mail. Banks and other financial institutions will not send you an e-mail asking for information. This will be a Phishing e-mail (where they e-mail and see who responds) and will be someone attempting to steal your identity.
3. Any paperwork such as receipts or bank statements, make sure you shred prior to throwing them away so no one can copy or take the information on it.
4. If you receive bills, invoices, or receipts for things you haven’t bought taken action. It may be that your identity has been stolen.
5. If you need advice about fraud, call Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040 to discuss your situation with one of their specialist fraud advisers.


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