Biosecurity Reduces the Risk of Equine Infectious Diseases

A 2009 World Horse Welfare Livery Yard Survey showed worrying findings:

• 61% of stables were not cleaned out between occupants.

• 48% said there were no isolation facilities.

• 38% said there were no procedures to exclude sick horses. 

This suggests that many people are not aware of the risks of serious and contagious diseases spreading. Here we look at the use of 7 biosecurity measures to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases amongst equines.
[ Biosecurity is defined as a set of measures designed to break the cycle of and reduce the spread of infectious diseases.]
1. Vaccination -  is a safety measure for the prevention of disease and should be discussed with your vet.
2. Isolation facilities  should be available to quarantine any new horse coming onto a yard, competition horses returning from shows and of course any horse with a nasal discharge, cough, fever, or diarrhoea.
3. Stables should be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected between tenants.
4. Sharing equipment such as water buckets, feed bowls etc  can spread pathogens from one horse to another and should be avoided where possible.
5. Clean and disinfect any equipment used by others thoroughly before using it on your own horses.
6. Keep feed rooms, tack rooms, and other stable areas clean and tidy.
7. Practise rodent control.
8. Human traffic - during outbreaks of disease in your area, eg. strangles, human traffic also needs to be taken into consideration. Farriers, vets, trainers etc who visit other yards should be asked to disinfect boots and wash hands before handling your horses. Keep a liquid hand sanitizer available at the yard.