Emergency diseases in horses

Page last updated: Tuesday, 1 March 2022 - 10:49am

Please note: This content may be out of date and is currently under review.

Australia is free of many infectious horse diseases, saving owners costly disease control. The occurrence of an emergency horse disease could severely restrict horse movements, racing and other competitions and cost millions of dollars in lost business and disease control. Some of the diseases also have serious human health impacts.

This page describes some of the most important emergency horse diseases. The Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, Western Australia (DPIRD) recommends owners call a vet if new or unusual signs of disease are seen in their horses.

Why must you report an emergency animal disease?

An emergency animal disease has severe consequences for:

  • livestock production and/or
  • exports of livestock and livestock products and/or
  • human health and/or
  • national or industry revenue.

When should I suspect an emergency animal disease?

You should suspect an emergency animal disease if you see:

  • unusual signs in stock (new or more severe signs or more stock affected than expected)
  • large numbers of stock deaths
  • a big drop in expected production and growth rates.

What should I do if I see unusual signs of disease in my animals?

  • Call a vet — your private vet or a DPIRD vet.
  • Call your local DPIRD office.
  • Call the emergency animal disease hotline, which operates seven days a week, on 1800 675 888.


Contact information

Sue Skirrow
+61 (0)8 9892 8490