A STABLE has gone into lockdown after the first case of Equine Flu in Scotland was identified among one of its animals.

Giorgia Burns Eventing yard in Lanarkshire implemented a quarantine after a horse arrived at the yard showing signs of the disease.

Vets later confirmed the unvaccinated animal had contracted the virus, prompting the stable's owner Giorgia Burns to isolate it and begin disinfecting the yard. No other horses at the yard have shown signs of the disease.

The confirmed case comes on the day British horseracing re-opens after a six-day shutdown following the outbreak. Two infected horses in England have had to be put down, and the British Horse Authority has introduced stringent new vaccination requirements to halt the spread of the disease.


Ms Burns said that the horse had arrived at her yard with a runny nose last Wednesday, one of the classic symptoms of the disease.

She said: "We called the vet in straight away, but I was optimistic that it wasn't Equine Flu. We went into lockdown as a precaution anyway with no horses coming in or out.

"It's now been confirmed that it is the flu, so we've had the vets back to re-vaccinate the rest of our horses and have been carrying out a deep clean of the stables as we are supposed to do.

"We expect to be given the all-clear next week, so it will only be a two-week shutdown. I'm just grateful this happened at this time of the year and not at the peak of the season."

READ MORE: What is Equine Flu?

She broke the news on Facebook, saying: "We have followed a strict disinfectant and quarantine regime and any yards I went to I either went first thing in the morning or last thing at night after a shower and change of clothes and shoes.

"I have decided after today’s results I will now take further precautions and not leave my own yard until it’s all resolved. Anyone who knows me, will know how devastated I am and the huge financial and emotional strain this has put on me."


The outbreak led to racing being cancelled across the UK

Ms Burns added: "I would like to thank the vets at Forth Valley, my lovely owners, and liveries who have all been so brilliant and understanding throughout all this, I would also like to apologise for the recent cancellations I have had to make, I have told a few white lies whilst waiting on results.

"I will try and not let this experience taint my views on others in the equine industry. I would like to think we all stick together and look out for each other, but obviously some don’t."

READ MORE: All horse racing cancelled after outbreak of Equine Flu

Ms Burns, 30, has been running her yard professionally for three years, and has been eventing since an early age.

The infected horse originally came from the Turlood Stables in Lesmahagow, owned by Billy and Katy Stewart.

However, Mrs Stewart said the horse had been checked by a vet before leaving and had been clear of the virus, but was uncertain when it had left her yard. She said: "There is no flu on our yard."


Infected horses raced at Ayr racecourse (stock pic)

Forth Valley Vets posted advice on social media on how to deal with horse flu. It said: "With Flu having been detected in a young unvaccinated horse in Central Scotland, we request that horse owners increase their vigilance.

"Please ask a vet swab any horse with; a runny nose, cough or fever (over 38.6 degrees).

"The vaccination recommendation for horses in large yards / competing / anywhere with horse movement is that it would be a good idea to follow BEVA guidelines and give a 6 month booster to bolster immunity."

READ MORE: Four further cases of equine flu identified at Newmarket yard

Meanwhile, British Horseracing Authority chief executive Nick Rust believes the six-day shutdown of racing was necessary to get a "clear picture" of the equine flu outbreak.

The BHA announced late on Monday that racing would resume on Wednesday after cancelling all events in the wake of positive tests at Donald McCain's Cheshire yard.

Six horses trained by McCain returned positive tests last week, with a further four at Simon Crisford's Newmarket stable also found to be suffering with the illness on Sunday, but Rust says it is now safe to resume.


Speaking at a press conference in London on Tuesday morning, he said: "The decision last week was taken with a set of circumstances that suggested to us that we should lock down racing for several days so we could have a clear picture of the circumstances around the outbreak.

"There is an unprecedented level of equine flu at the moment, that was one of the considerations.

"We were concerned about the threat of this and the impact and disruption it would have on racing in the longer term if we didn't understand it fully.

"We have done several thousand tests since then, swabs from 140-odd stables from across the country.

"We are pleased it is contained to two yards and that, under certain controls, we can return to racing.

"We didn't want to take any risks with future race meetings and with all known advice, we took the decision we did in the best interests of returning to racing."