With the recent outbreak of equine herpes virus in the South East, there’s never been a better time to brush up on your understanding of biosecurity to help keep your horse in good health. But what is biosecurity, and why does it matter?
Having a biosecurity plan in place allows you to protect your horse against the spread of disease. While it should protect him from others while you’re out and about, there should also be a plan to protect the yard’s inhabitants against visiting or new horses. If any horses test positive for an infectious disease, your yard may have to be locked down, meaning you can’t take your horse off the yard. This makes biosecurity a necessity for any responsible horse owner.
The method of spreading for each disease is different, and your biosecurity plan will have to account for this, so, here are a few of the most common and significant…
- strangles This tends to be spread through contact with the bacteria found in bodily fluids. Strangles is fairly easy to control with a good biosecurity plan because it has limited spread in the air, meaning thorough disinfection is an effective way of protecting against it.
- ringworm Generally spread via infected hair and skin flakes found in grooming kits, on tack or via people, ringworm isn’t airborne so its spread can be prevented with isolation and separate kit.
- equine herpes virus and equine influenza Both are spread via the air through respiratory secretions from infected horses. The nature of airbourne diseases makes their spreading far harder to prevent. There are vaccines available for both of these diseases, and, while equine flu vaccination is compulsory for many competitions, this isn’t the case for equine herpes.
So, what can you do to keep your horse and yard safe?
- Keep tack and grooming kits separate for each horse.
- Isolate horses as soon as you spot any signs of illness such as coughing, snotty noses or a temperature.
- Implement good hand-washing practice, and ensure all staff and liveries are well-versed.
- Don’t move any unwell horses, and attend to them last to avoid spreading anything via your clothing or equipment.
- Ensure any new arrivals have been strangles tested, are fully vaccinated and have had a faecal worm egg count.
- Isolate any new arrivals and attend to them last.
- Don’t share buckets or use communal water troughs when out and about.
- Try not to let your horse touch noses with others while away from the yard and don’t let other people touch or handle your horse.
Are you after some great products to help support your comprehensive biosecurity plan? Look no further, we’ve got it all right here.
Equigene Disinfectant by Medimark Scientific
This top-quality disinfectant has been DEFRA tested and complies with HRA Rules of Racing requirements, making it ideal to keep your stable and horsebox clean and disinfected. It’s been tested on the causes of strangles, equine flu, MRSA and adenovirus, and can be used effectively with hard or soft water. It’s high surfactant content maximises surface activity and penetration, providing a deeper and more effective clean.
£108.95 for 4x5L including VAT and carriage.
Stable Shield disinfectant
Alcohol-free yet incredibly fast-acting, this advanced, multi-surface disinfectant is effective within 30 seconds and doesn’t contain irritants. It’s been tested by the Irish Equine Centre and Animal Health Trust against equine bacteria, fungi and viruses, including ringworm, strangles and aspergillus. Double-up by using the Stable Shield Antibacterial Paint on your stable walls, a non-toxic, water-based and effective barrier against disease.
£65 ex. VAT for 5L
KBF99 antibacterial grooming brushes
These high-quality brushes are clinically proven to kill bacteria and fungi without harsh or irritating chemicals. They’re made with the effective KBF99 additive incorporated, so you don’t have to do anything besides groom your horse as usual. Tested at Coventry University, the brushes killed 99.99% of bacteria and fungi test cultures, including the causes of strangles, ringworm and E.Coli.
Fieldguard’s Green Gloop
This highly concentrated, water-based detergent and deodoriser exceeds the EN14349 requirements for veterinary surface disinfectants, making it everything you need to keep your yard clean and disinfected. Not only is it non-toxic and harmless to your equine pal, it’s also environmentally friendly. It’s perfect for stables, too, with its ammonia-neutralising properties and effective germicide capabilities.
£14.20 for 2L