Owner worries about nearby fig trees

BALLINA horse owner and veterinary manager Sue Kerkenezov is worried about fig trees backing on to her property that may potentially be a source of the deadly Hendra virus.

The veterinary stable currently has four horses on site, with others expected to be staying on the property in the coming months.

The clinic is two blocks up and adjacent to stables along Racecourse Rd.

“Its pretty scary and you have to worry about paddock horses,” Ms Kerkenezov said.

“I own the one horse and we have two big fig trees around us.”

The latest horse to die from the virus in Lismore is reported to have been in a paddock containing a fig tree.

In the past month, one horse has died from the virus at Macksville, another two have died on a Wollongbar property.

“We don’t let our horses pick (eat grass) under any trees,” Mrs Kerkenezov said.

“A few bats fly past us, but we miss the big colony that go around behind the back.

“I think about 30 % of bats are carrying the virus.”

“The local trainers talk about it and everyone is taking precautions at the moment.”

There are over 200 horses in a small vicinity along Racecourse Rd.

Ms Kerkenezov believes racing horses are at a low risk of contracting the virus.

“All the food and water is kept in their stables,” she said.

“They get out early, do their track work and get hosed down and put back in the stables.

"They don’t let them pick, so the Hendra risk is very minimal.”



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