By Stuart Pearson BVM&S Cert AVP (ESO) MRCVS – CHESHIRE EQUINE CLINIC.
A vaccination policy is good practice to incorporate into any yard. The importance of vaccination is two-fold: to protect against a specific disease (antigenic response) but also a general boost or primer for the immune system (adjuvant). The specific diseases vaccinated will depend on the yard, but usually include equine influenza and tetanus and often equine herpes virus (EHV).
A worming policy is also essential in order to effectively protect our horses and protect the drugs that are currently in use. This is a hot topic at the moment and a real concern as resistance to wormers is growing.
Prior to any new arrival, it is advisable to check the horse is correctly vaccinated against diseases in accordance with your vaccination policy at the yard. A blood test to help rule out exposure to Streptococci.equi (Strangles) is also recommended.
The majority of disease outbreaks will occur within the first 2 weeks of a new arrival at a yard, therefore to avoid any potential problem new arrivals should be isolated away from your other horses for at least 2 weeks. The isolation facility or stable should be located at least 10 metres, but ideally 25 metres, from the main yard.
Separate equipment should always be used for each horse, including tack, buckets and grooming kit.
Disinfection with appropriate products should be used on stable and equipment between horses. Product needs to act against spores and not be deactivated in organic matter. Mists can be effective against many of the common pathogens, and phenolic disinfectants such as Virkon are active against viruses and active even in the presence of organic matter. The most effective agent against spores is bleach.
Personnel at the yard are key to a good biosecurity plan, thus educating them is a valuable investment of time and effort. The vets at Cheshire Equine Clinic are always happy to provide information and talks to individual or groups of yards on this and other veterinary matters. Feel free to contact the office 01829 770999 with any questions.