Marburg Veterinary Clinic wishes to outline our Hendra Policy for our new and existing clients.
Since the introduction of the HeV vaccine in 2012, as of 1st January 2016 we no longer offer veterinary services to horses that are sick and unvaccinated to the Hendra Virus. We will continue to see your horse if it is vaccinated against the Hendra Virus or if they are routine visits with the strong recommendation to vaccinate with the HeV vaccine. We have been tolerant to people’s stance on not vaccinating, however we also need to maintain our stance on this policy due to safety and insurance. We under no circumstances will accept any unvaccinated HeV horses to visit at the Marburg Hospital. Horses that are being seen to will be checked on the Vets Australia registry database before the attending vet consults. Therefore it is essential that the owners have their microchip details or email accessible.
Hendra Virus is a fatal disease in horses and humans. The mortality rate in horses that have contracted the Hendra virus is 100% and the mortality rate in humans is 60%. It has been shown that veterinarians and their staff are most at risk and account for all cases bar one in human cases. Before this policy we had continued to treat sick unvaccinated horses, and had found that in many cases there was a level of exposure hazard to ourselves, other horses and people involved. In these situations we performed Hendra testing, and in the process we have had clients either neglect to or out-right refuse to follow the specific direction of the treating veterinarian whilst awaiting for the Hendra result to return (between 1-4 days). Additional to personal safety issues, any deviation from the safety requirements exposes the vet to the possibility of no insurance and prosecution under the Workplace Health and Safety laws.
All the staff at the Marburg Veterinary Clinic have pursued a career in this industry to care for animals, however there is a far greater obligation to go home safe and well to our families. You as the owner of the horse will have a moral obligation to protect your horse, yourself and those that are around your horse – by a vet administering and maintaining the annual boosters of the preventable HeV vaccine.
If you would like to read up on the facts of Hendra please download this information sheet written by Pfizer Animal Health, so a better understanding can be established with causes and prevention management of Hendra.