Equine Flu – Requirements for Vaccination


As we are now approaching a year since the start of the equine influenza outbreak in 2019, we are facing many questions from our clients as to how often their horse should be having a flu vaccine. 

There is some confusion around when boosters are due as many horses had extra flu vaccines last year.

All competition bodies require your horse to have a primary course, and then yearly boosters at no more than 365 day intervals. A primary course for all competition bodies under BEF and BHA rules: 1st booster, followed by a 2nd 21-92 days later, followed by a third 150-215 days later.

Several competition bodies and venues are also insisting horses have had a flu booster within the 6 months preceding entering the competition venue. This includes British Eventing, British Dressage and British Riding Clubs. All bodies require the horse to not enter the competition venue on the day of the booster, or the 6 days following.

At the present time British Showjumping are not following the 6 month rule, an annual booster as previous is acceptable. However, venues may have their own requirements if other horses are on site, so some BS competitions a booster within the 6 months prior to entering the show ground will be required.

There isn’t a requirement to ensure 6 monthly boosters are on a set date, so no need to panic about hitting the deadline in the middle of the season – as long as the booster is no more than 12 months after the last, and is within the 6 months preceding a competition you’re covered.

Despite the above, there is clear evidence that 6 monthly boosters hugely improve herd immunity and thus reduce chances of an outbreak occurring. We therefore advise, in line with the BEF and FEI guidelines all our clients consider 6 monthly boosters for flu. 

We will offer 6 monthly flu vaccine reminders as a courtesy to clients we know are competing under BRC, BE or BD rules – let your vet know at the time of vaccination.

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch with any questions.