Biosecurity is a recent buzzword for a series of measures designed to protect a population/yard from disease.
The main disease threats that can be brought into a yard are:
1. Respiratory diseases eg Strangles, Influenza
2. Skin diseases eg Ringworm
3. Reproductive diseases eg EHV/Herpes abortion and CEM/EVA.
4. Intestinal diseases eg Salmonella
5. Exotic diseases (those not normally present in UK) are possible in imported horses.
The best way of controlling the risk of introducing any of these diseases is to have a biosecurity protocol drawn up by the yard manager and vet. This does not have to be as formal as it sounds and a lot of it is common sense but it helps to plan in advance to prevent missing any obvious steps.
When drawing up a policy, the first step is to work out what the risk factors are for your yard.
Things to be considered include what type of yard (livery or private), how many horses, any young/breeding stock, how many new arrivals, how many competitions do horses go to, is there a worming & vaccination policy, is there anywhere to isolate a potentially sick horse. The isolation facility is one that often causes difficulty when a new or sick horse is on the yard, but does not have to be any more complicated than a separated field shelter that is out of reach of other horses. Every yard is different and because of this it is possible to give only very general guidelines. However, if you would like to discuss the risks to your yard then please contact the practice so that one of our vets can come out to advise you.
Once the risk factors have been established , we can then draw up preventative measures for the yard. General measures include the segregation of new horses to the yard for a three week period to guard against introducing disease into the yard, blood sampling new arrivals for strangles serology and taking swabs and blood samples for horses going to stud. Stable hygiene should also be ensured and the use of separate equipment for each horse for feed, water and grooming. Vaccinating against Influenza and Tetanus is advised and drawing up a worming plan. The ultimate aim is to protect our horses against disease for the benefit of all.