Combatting equine diseases through better monitoring


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Combatting equine diseases through better monitoring


Monitoring of infectious equine diseases is important. In the Netherlands, this has taken place through SEIN (Surveillance of Equine Infectious Diseases in the Netherlands) since 2019. This means that in the event of an outbreak, appropriate measures can be taken. The Boehringer Ingelheim and Royal GD Equine PCR Project monitored eleven viruses and bacteria found in horses with respiratory symptoms in the Netherlands, while promoting the use of SEIN by vets. A good example of working together for better equine health.

The Boehringer Ingelheim and GD Equine PCR Project screened for viruses and bacteria being present in horses with acute upper respiratory tract diseases in the Netherlands. Sample collection equipment was provided to Dutch equine vets for this purpose. Two nasal swabs were taken by equine veterinarians from horses presenting with onset of fever and respiratory symptoms and these were sent to both GD and Boehringer Ingelheim. PCR tests were then subsequently performed to identify which pathogens were present in the sample. These included six PCR tests familiar to GD for pathogens such as in­fluenza, strangles and rhinopneumonitis. Five new tests were set up by the Projects Laboratory specifically for this project. The samples received were tested for a total of eleven different viruses and bacteria.


The project has given insights in which viruses and bacteria are prevalent among Dutch horses, and some of these results have also been shared via SEIN. SEIN is an initiative of the KNMvD (Royal Dutch Veterinary Association), Boehringer Ingelheim Animal Health and GD. The platform SEIN is aimed to inform participating veterinarians of outbreaks of equine infectious respiratory diseases through e-mail alerts. These alerts are based on positive test results of the regarding cases and supplementary information provided by the veterinarian involved. Thus a high quality insight into identified outbreaks in the Netherlands is obtained. These results are shared anonymously in order to stimulate the horse owners’ willingness to share data and, since location is very important to contain the spread of an outbreak, only the first two digits of the area Zip code are revealed. As of now, strangles, rhinopneumonitis and in­fluenza are being monitored in SEIN but other equine diseases may be added in the future. With the Equine PCR Project and acceleration of the use of SEIN, an important step has been taken towards further improving the surveillance of equine infectious diseases in the Netherlands for the support of veterinarians and to the benefit of the health of the horse population. Read more

Our expert Kees van Maanen

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