Biosecurity is a set of preventive measures designed to reduce the risks for introduction and transmission of an infectious disease agent. Infectious disease pathogens may be brought to and spread at an event premises by horses, people, domestic animals other than horses, vehicles, equipment, insects, ticks, birds, wildlife including rodents, feed, waste and water. Implementation of an equine biosecurity plan will minimize or prevent the movement of diseases and pests on and off the equine premises. Development and implementation of an equine biosecurity plan is an essential responsibility of the equine facility manager that is critical to protecting the equine industry.
- Do Not Commingle Horses of Unknown Health Status: Horses, often with an unknown health status, are moved from their home premises and travel to an equine facility, where they commingle on one premises. Horses may all appear healthy as they unload from the trailer on the grounds, however, some may be incubating or shedding a disease agent. Unfortunately, without a requirement for complete health exams and diagnostic testing, the health status of all the horses arriving on the grounds will remain a mystery.
- Limit the Stabling of Animals in Close Proximity: Close stabling increases the risk of circulating pathogens and disease transmission.
- Monitor Animal and Human Movement: Typically, animals and humans move freely around the grounds, interacting with numerous other people, animals and objects. These unrestricted movements and interactions may inadvertently increase the risks for infectious pathogen introduction and spread during an event.
- Provide Isolation Areas: Provide an area for adequate isolation of sick horses or horses entering the facility for the first time, available when needed.
- Consult your local veterinarian for more useful tips.