THE Irish Equine Centre will charge €35 for equine influenza testing from May 1st but only for horses who require a negative result for the purposes of travelling to Britain and France for racing and sales. The British Horseracing Authority and France Galop still require all horses to be tested prior to entering either country.
Since the beginning of 2019, in response to the equine influenza outbreak, the IEC has carried out over 2,300 influenza tests free of charge which has generated significant and unforeseen costs for the IEC.
The IEC’s chief executive Sarah MacNicholas explained: “It is no longer financially viable for the IEC to continue this free service with the volume of samples being submitted and where the need for the test is driven by new overseas regulatory requirements rather than suspicion of a case of influenza in an Irish horse.”
The provision of free nasopharyngeal swabs and virus transport medium will continue.
As an OIE Reference Laboratory for equine influenza, the IEC continues to offer diagnostic testing free of charge where there is a suspect case of equine influenza or where assistance is required in managing an outbreak. The IEC also offers free equine influenza antibody testing to determine if a horse is adequately protected or requires booster vaccination.
These services are supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine.