Horse Biosecurity

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31st May 2010

Dr Roger Paskin, Chief Veterinary Officers Unit, Biosecurity Victoria

Biosecurity simply refers to common senes measures taken to prevent the transmission of disease - either between animals or between animals and man. Practising good biosecurity helps to ensure the health of both horses and their owners. The following biosecurity guidelines are taken from a DPI Agriculture Note written some years ago by Sam Forrest, Readers should download the entire publication from the website and read it through.

Good husbandry practised on a day to day basis is the most effective way to reduce the spread of diseases. Horses should be checked daily to ensure they are healthy and not at risk of injury. Worming and vaccination programs should be implemented and records for each horse should be maintained.

Where horses are stabled or yarded it is important that manure is cleaned up twice a day and disposed of properly.

Keeping vermin and insects under control is also important in preventing spread of disease. Steps to deter insects and vermin can include having the manure pit emptied regularly, having feed in vermin proof containers, disposing of old and uneaten feed and limiting spots for vermin to hide and breed.

Keeping equipment and tack well cleaned and washing and rinsing  of feed and stable water buckets daily is also recommended. Water troughs in paddocks should be cleaned weekly.

Ensure prompt removal/hygienic disposal of deceased stock.

Any horse that is suspected of being ill must be isolated immediately. Call you local vet, Do not handle any other horses until you have changed your clothes and washed your hands.

Wash and disinfect any equipment that have come in contact with the horse.

It is also a good thing to ensure that visitors don't have contact with your horses unless they have to- and if they do, ensure that they are wearing fresh clothes, wash hands thoroughly before contact, and only use clean equipment. Keep a record of who visits when.

Being careful now may help avoid a lot trouble in the future