|Equine Influenza is a viral respiratory disease
which is highly contagious to susceptible horses.
Outbreaks of the disease are occurring with increased
frequency worldwide despite the widespread use of
vaccines. The highly contagious nature of equine
influenza means that it has the potential to seriously
compromise international movement of horses. For a
number of years the FEI rules have required an annual
booster vaccination, but recent research indicates
that, for many vaccine protection declines after a few
months. This means that towards the end of the
vaccination year horses may become susceptible to
infection again, but may not show clinical signs of
disease. These cases are particularly dangerous as they
can spread virus and could initiate a serious outbreak
As a consequence of the risks involved the FEI
Bureau and General Assembly have approved a rule-change
requiring all horses competing in FEI competition to be
vaccinated every 6 months. This rule will be reviewed
annually by the FEI Veterinary Committee and can be
altered if the Vaccination or disease situation changes
Rule change approved by the General Assembly 2004
“The FEI requirement for equine influenza
vaccination will be for booster vaccinations at 6 month
intervals as from 1 January 2005.”
Implementation of the Rule change
1 Primary course of vaccination – a primary course
should always be given according to the manufacturer’s
instructions by injection or intranasal administration.
This requires 2 doses of vaccine administered between a
minimum of 21 to a maximum of 92 days apart (1 – 3
month). The first booster vaccination must be given no
more than 6 months + 21 days (see item 5) after the
second vaccination interval is obviously permitted.
2 Route of administration – the vaccine should be
administered according to the manufacturers
instructions (i.e. intramuscular injection or
intranasal). The FEI will accept intranasal vaccines
for both primary and booster doses. However, it is not
possible to change the route of administration between
the first and second vaccination of the primary course.
3 Specification of Vaccine – All proprietary equine
influenza vaccines are acceptable to the FEI
irrespective of the route of administration. Univalent
vaccines are to be preferred over combination vaccines,
especially with regard to vaccination against tetanus.
4 Details of Administration – vaccines must be
administered by a veterinarian and the details of the
vaccine, serial/batch number, the date and route of
administration must be reported in the FEI passport.
5 Booster vaccinations must be given at 6 month
intervals. However, to avoid interruption of the
horses’ competition schedule, it is permissible to
extend the 6 month booster date to vaccinate the horse.
(For example, a horse vaccinated on 18 March, has a
window for the next vaccination from 18 Sept to 9 Oct).
A shorter vaccination interval is obviously permitted.
6 The entering of vaccination details in the new FEI
passports/recognition cards or duplicates – if the
vaccination history of the horse is very long, the
veterinarian who has filled in the descriptive page of
the passport/recognition card may use a specific
statement to certify that the vaccinations have been
administered in accordance with the FEI regulations
(for the exact wording see veterinary regulations,
Annex ll.l.11). Please note that until 31 December
2004, annual booster vaccinations are permitted and
from 1 January 2005, bi-annual boosters are required.
7 Change in the vaccination schedule – When the
vaccination schedule is changed from annual to bi –
annual, the horse does not need a new primary
8 The Bureau has approved the following table for
warnings and sanctions of passport irregularities:
8.1 Warnings will be issued by the FEI from 1
January 2005 until 31 December 2005 as a reminder that
6 month booster vaccination for influenza is now
8.2 As from 1 January 2006 a system of fines will be
imposed by the Appeal Committee/Ground Jury for failure
to comply with 6 month booster vaccinations.
8.2.1 Less than one week after the 3 weeks
vaccination window: CHF 200
8.2.2 Less than two weeks after the 3 weeks
vaccination window: CHF 300
8.2.3 Less than four weeks after the 3 weeks
vaccination window: CHF 400
8.2.4 More than four weeks after the 3 weeks
vaccination window: CHF 500 and the cancellation of the
horse’s participation in the event.
8.3 Fines for other infringements relating to
influenza vaccination will be as follows:
a) if no evidence of any current vaccination in
passport: a maximum penalty of CHF 500
The horse should not be allowed to compete, it must
be put in isolation and sent away from the event as
soon as possible.
b) any infringements of vaccination dates should be
noted in the passport so that it is not reported again
at a future event. Please write in CAPITAL letters;
remember that others will be dependent on the
information that you have written in the passport.
c) no information available on the primary
vaccination course need not lead to a penalty, and a
repeat primary course is not required, provided the
current passport contains a statement that the
vaccination history has been checked and found to be
correct. (for exact wording see Veterinary Regulations,
For further information please contact:
Dr. Frits Sluyter
Federation Equestre Internationale
Tel. 0041 21 310 4747
Fax. 0041 21 310 4760