International Equestrian Federation (FEI) officials have urged its community to ensure horses are vaccinated amid outbreaks of equine influenza.
The governing body have released advice following confirmed outbreaks of the virus in Belgium, Britain France, Germany, Ireland, Nigeria and the United States since the start of the year.
FEI veterinary director Göran Åkerström has warned that vaccination is vital to curbing the outbreak.
"Vaccinating horses against equine influenza is key to combating the spread of equine influenza," Åkerström said.
"It is important that all horses are vaccinated, regardless of whether or not they compete or come into contact with other horses, but there are also biosecurity measures that should be put in place, including best hygiene practices."
The FEI have warned that equine influenza is a highly contagious virus which causes respiratory disease in horses.
Outbreaks, the FEI add, can have a severe impact on the equine industry with the potential of restrictions on horse movement and cancelled events.
This has occurred in Britain, where horse racing has been halted for six days following an outbreak.
Numerous stables have also been placed in quarantine in an attempt to contain the disease.
The FEI have warned the air-borne virus can spread up to two kilometres, depending on the environmental conditions, and can be easily transmitted between horses that are in close contact.
This includes contact at events, group training and hunting, or between vaccinated and unvaccinated horses in the home yard.
The FEI have advised that any horse which displays signs of illness should not leave their home yard, as well as those that have been in contact with a horse that has had equine influenza.
"This year we are seeing a return of the Clade 1 virus in infected horses," Caterina Termine, an FEI veterinary advisor, said.
"Vaccinated horses have suffered only mild clinical signs of the disease and recovered quickly, but unvaccinated horses have been much more severely affected.
"The key message is, get your horse vaccinated, monitor horse health extremely closely and call your veterinarian if you have any concerns."
The FEI state horses must have an up to date vaccination history in their passports to compete at their events.
Checks will be carried out on entry to FEI competitions.
The FEI advice can be accessed by clicking here.