Media release
Hendra kills – horses must be vaccinated

Media release date: Monday, 21 July 2014

Following the latest Hendra case in Gladstone, the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) says that all horse owners must have their horses vaccinated to prevent the deadly Hendra virus.

President of Equine Veterinarians Australia, Dr Nathan Anthony said, “It’s not enough to cross your fingers when it comes to the Hendra Virus. Hendra kills horses and it kills people. Every death from this virus is now preventable.

“Hendra virus infection in horses can happen anywhere, at any time. If horse owners want guaranteed veterinary care when their horses get sick then they must get them vaccinated. This is particularly the case in Queensland and northern New South Wales where Hendra cases have been recorded.

“Vets are constantly at risk when they treat a sick horse that hasn’t been vaccinated. It’s got to the point where some vets won’t treat a sick unvaccinated horse.

“All equine hospitals in Queensland have a strict policy that unvaccinated sick horses with a fever cannot be admitted to hospital without Hendra virus exclusion testing.

These results can take 24-48 hours which is resulting in life threatening delays in treatment.

“Hendra virus has a high human death rate, no cure and no human vaccine. An outbreak of Hendra virus can also be financially, professionally, emotionally and psychologically damaging as well as potentially life-threatening for those in contact with the horse,” Dr Anthony said.

Horse owners and those who work in the horse industry should take immediate action if they haven’t had their horses vaccinated and contact their local vet.

For further information and requests for interviews contact the AVA media office on (02) 9431 5062, 0439 628 898 or

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the only national association representing veterinarians in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 7500 members working in all areas of animal science, health and welfare.