Horse owners are being invited to take part in a nationwide vaccine trial being run by the Animal Health Trust at Kentford.
The trust is seeking 1,100 horses to trial using a vaccine to prevent the frequently fatal disease equine grass sickness, which is thought to be caused by reaction to a type of botulism bacteria in the soil.
Only healthy horses and ponies with a valid passport kept on premises with a history of EGS cases in the previous two years will be eligible to be enrolled.
Dr Jo Ireland, the AHT’s Equine Grass Sickness Research Co-ordinator, said: “Half of the horses and ponies on the trial will be vaccinated with a C. botulinum type C toxoid vaccine; the other half of the horses and ponies will receive an inactive placebo injection. We will record, review and compare incidence of EGS between the two groups to determine the efficacy of the vaccine.”
Grass sickness makes the horses ill very suddenly and their condition deteriorates very quickly.