A new study has found the Hendra vaccine does not affect the performance of racehorses

A study conducted by the University of Sydney has confirmed that vaccination against Hendra virus does not affect the performance of race horses.

Australian Veterinary Association’s (AVA) equine group president Dr Ben Poole, said the study, would hopefully reassure those who are involved in the horseracing industry that the Hendra vaccine is safe.

“The AVA commends the QRIC on the proactive measures it has taken recently to ensure that horseracing is a safe sport in Australia,” he said. 

“Precautions must be taken by horse owners, handlers and veterinary staff to minimise the risk of Hendra virus infection in horses and people,” he said. 

Dr Poole said based on the latest study, which involved data from 1154 Thoroughbreds over 12,066 race starts there could be confidence that vaccinating brings health and welfare benefits to the racing community.

“It should dispel rumours that vaccination affects performance,” Dr Poole said.

The QRIC also recently announced that owners will also be given the option to receive the first Hendra vaccination free of charge, to encourage a greater uptake of vaccination.

“We applaud the commission for the action they’re taking to protect the community from Hendra and we encourage other industry bodies to follow the example of QRIC,” Dr Poole said.

The AVA recommends that all horses located in regions known to, or likely to have Hendra virus spill over events, be vaccinated against the disease. 

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