Page 18 - XLEquine - Plan Prevent Protect - Biosecurity Booklet

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Following a veterinary examination you will be informed of the likelihood of an infectious cause and the necessary action to limit its spread.
Diagnostic samples will be taken to investigate the cause or confirm the diagnosis. In some conditions diagnosis may be difficult and a series of
tests and multiple samples may be necessary.
The most important aim of quickly controlling an infectious disease outbreak is to limit the spread of the disease from infected animals to healthy
The following steps should be taken:
• close the yard: no horses should be allowed to leave or new horses to enter the yard and all visiting professionals and tradesmen should
be alerted;
• isolate and barrier nurse infected animals;
• separate animals into risk categories and monitoring closely for signs of disease;
• vaccination where appropriate.
Isolation & barrier nursing
• At the first suspicion of infectious disease affected animal/s should be removed from their groups and
placed in isolation.
• Unfortunately many yards do not have ideal isolation areas but the closer you can get to the ideal the
more effective isolation will be. In its simplest form this can involve putting a grill up at the stable door and
using cones and tape to prevent people from walking directly in front of the stable.
• Isolated horses should ideally be cared for by different people to unaffected horses. This reduces the risk of
people carrying the infection on their hands, clothes or shoes from sick to healthy horses. Where this is not
practical; handle healthy horses first then wear protective clothing, such as gloves, overalls and different
footwear or go home and shower and change afterwards before handling other horses.
• Barrier nursing is the care of a patient suffering from infectious disease in isolation using protective
clothing and special measures to prevent the spread of disease to others.
• Foot dips at the edge of an isolation area can be useful but it is important to strictly follow instructions
regarding dilution and to change regularly as they can become inactivated when dirty and then
becoming a breeding ground for bacteria and viruses.
• It is important that all equipment (e.g. buckets, rugs) remains in the isolation area and is not removed.
Soiled bedding and uneaten food should be disposed of separately.
Risk categorisation
As soon as individual horses present with clinical signs suspicious of an contagious disease it is important to consider the implications for other
horses on the yard; this can be a useful strategy even with simple coughs and colds. Since most illnesses have an incubation period it is not
possible to tell just by looking at an animal whether it has been exposed and is incubating the disease. By dividing horses into groups according
to their risk of having been exposed it is possible to limit the spread between individuals. The simplest of these systems is the ‘Traffic light system’:
for high risk horses,
for medium risk and
for low risk. All equipment should be labelled in these three colours to make it clear
which area it must remain in.
When an contagious disease is suspected; people often hope there is a less serious cause and carry on as normal to avoid any associated panic. If
you are unlucky enough to have an infectious disease, ignoring the problem in the early stages will only increase the number of horses affected
and prolong the length of time the yard is affected.
If a horse on the yard is displaying any of the following signs the yard owner and vet should be informed immediately:
fever (high temperature)
nasal discharge
lymph node abscesses
lack of coordination
Barrier nursing involves the
use of protective clothing and
special measures to prevent the
spread of infectious disease
to others.
Tape and cones can be used to
create a temporary
isolation area.
Dealing with a disease outbreak
Plan. Prevent. Protect