This is Rich, co-owner of Mullumbimby Veterinary Clinic and Mama Cass. Not only does Rich take care our dogs Mofo and Kali, but he is also a vocal advocate for vaccinating horses against the potentially deadly Hendra virus.

“I have been a vet for 18 years and Hendra is possibly the scariest experience I have ever faced,” he told me. “Not only will Hendra potentially result in the death of your horse, either due to the virus itself or enforced euthanasia requirements but it has also killed four out of seven people that have come into contact with the virus since it was first identified in Brisbane in 1994.”

Over 60% of Hendra virus outbreaks, which are transmitted from fruit bats to horses via contaminated feed, occur between May and July each year. Flying foxes in the Northern Rivers are known to carry the viral disease, making the area a Hendra hotspot for local horse owners. In the infamous breakout of 2011, ten horses on eight properties from Wollongbar, Macksville, Lismore, Mullumbimby and Ballina died from the virus.

Horse owners wanting to find out more about Hendra Virus or Equivac heV should visit www.health4horses.com.au for more information.

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Photography by Veda Dante.

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