As we enter into horse show season and County Fairs, it is critical to practice biosecurity measures, including:
- Work with your veterinarian to ensure horses are current with recommended vaccines.
- Keep sick horses at home. Watch for signs of fever, nasal discharge and diarrhea.
- Wash your hands frequently! Bring water, soap, hand sanitizer, and paper towels with you.
- Clean and disinfect stalls, especially built-in feeders, at show facilities. Spray-on commercial disinfectants are readily available. Diluted bleach (8 ounces bleach to 1 gallon of water) is an inexpensive disinfectant; it works best on a surface that has been thoroughly cleaned.
- Do not share feed and water buckets, hay bags, grooming tools, tack, or manure forks.
- Limit exposure. Do not allow horses to have nose to nose contact. Limit the general public’s contact with your horses.
- Upon returning home from a show, wash your hands, shower, and change clothing and shoes before working with horses kept at home.
- Isolate returning horses from resident horses for 14 days. Monitor horses daily for signs of fever, nasal discharge, and diarrhea.
Remember, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
This article is reprinted with permission from Krishona Martinson, PhD, University of Minnesota. This and other horse nutrition articles can be found at http://www.extension.umn.edu/agriculture/horse/nutrition/.
Photo credit: Krishona Martinson, PhD, University of Minnesota