World Horse Welfare’s Research and Education Officer Alana Chapman explains exactly what biosecurity is and what it means for you and your horses.
Biosecurity might sound daunting but actually it’s just simple, everyday horse care to help prevent the spread of disease. Easy steps such as not sharing equipment, not letting your horse come into direct contact with unknown horses when out and about and quarantining all new arrivals for three weeks can make a huge difference.
We know not everyone has a dedicated unit that newcomers can be quarantined in but you can isolate a new horse in the field, so long as they can’t make direct contact with any others. If they need to be stabled, make sure there’s an empty box on each side between them and any other horses. In both cases you would also need to take steps to prevent any transfer of disease on either yourself, your clothing or any equipment.
It’s incredibly tempting to give a new horse a cuddle, so it’s worth putting up barriers or signs to make sure people know not to greet the new arrival until after their quarantine period. Remember to make sure no kit is shared between horses until the newcomer is out of quarantine – perhaps marking it out clearly if someone else could use it by mistake. Another easy trick is to make sure you do the quarantined horse last if you’re caring for other horses as well.
Whilst the new arrival is in quarantine you should keep a close eye on their general demeanour as well as their temperature, pulse and respiration (breathing) rate. If you’re not sure how to monitor any of these, you can find helpful videos in Alana’s blog about biosecurity at www.worldhorsewelfare.org/blog