Biosecurity is a set of management practices that reduces the potential for the introduction or spread of disease-causing agents.
Maintaining good biosecurity practices will:
- Help prevent the introduction and spread of exotic and notifiable diseases.
- Control diseases that may occur eg strangles or equine influenza.
- Keep your horse healthy and reduce costs.
Horse keepers should know their horse’s normal behaviour and vital signs; changes may indicate the onset of disease.
Remain vigilant for signs and symptoms of disease by checking your horse daily.
Everyday biosecurity actions:
- Good hygiene eg washing hands, clothes, equipment and surfaces.
- Regularly clean grooming kit, feed and water buckets, tack, rugs, stables and vehicles used to transport horses.
- Avoid taking vehicles into a yard where there are sick horses.
- Keep horses secure check latches, hinges etc.
- Provide fresh clean water and feed your horse the appropriate type and amount of fodder.
Exotic Notifiable Disease
An exotic disease is one not normally found in the UK. A notifiable disease is a disease that must be reported to the local Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency ( AHVLA) Office. Notifiable diseases have the potential for serious and rapid spread, animal or public health consequences and can have an impact on international trade. The nearest AHVLA office is Galashiels 01896 758806
Equine influenza is a highly contagious viral disease of the respiratory system, caused by different strains of the influenza virus. Horses can contract the disease either from direct contact with an infected horse or through contaminated environment/air. It spreads very rapidly as infected horses incubated the virus for only 1-3 days before developing symptoms.
The disease can quickly deteriorate into life-threatening bronchitis or pneumonia and when recovering, horses are often susceptible to secondary infection as they are left in a debilitated state. Naturally, we recommend vaccinating horses against this disease.
Equine influenza vaccine schedule:
- A primary course of two injections given between 21 and 92 days apart.
- A third injection given between 150 and 215 days (5 and 7 months) after the second injection.
- Annual boosters are required thereafter (must be given within 365 days of previous injection)
No vaccination should be given within the 7 days preceding travel/ arrival