Essential items for horse quarantine

Effective quarantine meets a primary goal: to prevent healthy horses from coming into contact with a sick horse or any contaminated surfaces – including human hands and clothing as well as buckets, brushes, fences and stall walls.

Few of us have the space and resources to move sick or bruised horses to a barn far from our main stables and assign them caregivers who have not come into contact with the rest of the herd. However, effective quarantine can be implemented on a slightly smaller scale with creativity. Here are the points that need to be addressed:

The goals of effective horse quarantine are simple: to prevent healthy horses from coming into contact with contaminated or diseased surfaces.

booth space. If a separate stable is not available, place the isolated horse in a stall at the end of the lane farthest from the door with the most traffic, and leave at least one stall empty between it and the other residents. Use fans to direct airflow away from the quarantine area and out through the back door rather than into other booths. If your barn gets frequent visitors, put up signs warning them not to approach or touch an isolated horse.

Transformation. A sick or exposed horse must be kept separate at the turnout as well as in the barn. Ideally, his turnout will be downwind, away from other horses, and will not share fencing with other turnout areas.

If you only have one pasture, you can use temporary fencing to enclose a section for an isolated horse. But you will need to put up double fencing, with each side separated by at least 10 feet, to prevent nose-to-nose contact. Another option is to alternate turnout times – bringing the isolated horse in during the day and taking it out at night when the others are inside – but this poses a risk that healthy horses come into contact with the sick horse’s secretions. Ask your vet what is best for your facility based on the disease factor.

Care protocols. If one person cannot be assigned to exclusively care for a sick horse, the person doing the chores needs to finish off all healthy horses before moving on to isolated horses and disposing of their manure away from other animals. The caretaker will also need to avoid exposing other horses to any gloves, clothing, hair coverings or shoes that are worn when caring for the quarantined animal. One way to achieve this is to keep a dedicated set of coats, gloves and boots that you only wear when caring for a sick horse; You can also purchase washable surgical scales or disposable protective gowns, shoe covers, rubber gloves, and other items used by healthcare workers. Your vet or doctor can help you find the sources.

equipment. Keep a separate collection of all equipment used to care for an isolated horse. Remember that pathogens can travel on tractor and wheelbarrow tires as well as stall cleaning equipment, buckets and rubber. This means placing a disinfectant foot bath outside the booth and cleaning tires and other contaminated surfaces with a bleach solution. Finally, of course, wash your hands after handling the horse.

Monitoring and logistics. If you are dealing with a horse with an infectious disease that could spread outside your farm, your veterinarian will advise you of any other measures you may need to take. For example, you may be required to keep your horses on the farm. Keep in mind that all other horses in the same barn are at risk and start monitoring their body temperature twice a day. Also, wear gloves even when working with healthy-looking horses in the same barn. Change gloves and wash your hands before moving from one horse to another.

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