African Horse Sickness is a real threat

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Horse insurance policyholders have been warned that the threat of African Horse Sickness (AHS) to the UK equine population is still very real.

The discovery of the Schmallenberg virus in Britain earlier this year means it is even more likely to affect some animals in the country, vets have told Horse and Hound.

Although the Schmallenberg virus does not affect horses, it is spread by the same insect that infects the animals with AHS.

AHS kills up to 90 per cent of all the equines it infects, so it is vital that these insects are found as soon as possible.

The vet who chairs the government and horse industry's joint AHS Working Group Paul Jepson said the Schmallenberg outbreak has shown that AHS could spread quickly in the UK.

"Schmallenberg and bluetongue have spread from Europe in exactly the same pattern as would occur if AHS were present," he continued.

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