Recommendations for a Biosecurity Program
Additional information on general biosecurity guidelines is available here.
1. Allow only healthy horses to enter the facility. Entrance will require a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) from an accredited veterinarian dated within the past 14 days for all new arrivals. All horses should be required to be vaccinated (core and risk-based vaccines as listed in the AAEP Vaccination Guidelines as appropriate. The horse owner/agent should provide a statement of the disease status of herd of origin and the premises.
2. Examine all new arrivals for signs of contagious disease and to verify that the CVI, vaccination history, other tests required by the destination facility and the owner/agent statement match the horses being delivered and are in compliance with the requirements. Special attention should be paid to leased teaser stallions and nurse mares which can be responsible for the introduction of certain diseases (e.g., CEM and EVA) onto a premises. Unless the disease status and test results are known for leased mares or teaser stallions, appropriate quarantine and diagnostic testing should be performed to ensure they are not carriers of communicable disease(s) prior to exposing the breeding population on the premises.
3. Isolate new arrivals to prevent contact with resident horses (especially pregnant mares). The period of isolation should be 7 to 14 days for horses arriving from a facility with minimal perceived risk and possibly increasing this to 21 to 28 days for horses coming from a facility of unknown risk. Do not allow horses with overt signs of disease or a high risk of infection onto the property. An alternative would be to unload such horse(s) and accommodate them at a separate isolation facility.
4. Immediately isolate any horse on the property suspected of having a contagious disease, such as respiratory infection, diarrhea or fever of unknown origin. There should be an evaluation by a veterinarian to determine etiology, biosecurity risk and containment plan. Any treatment and follow-up procedures depend on the diagnosis. Appropriate cleaning and disinfection of the vacated stall the horse resided in is essential. Procedures for caretakers, housing, manure disposal, stall disinfection, etc. are available here.
5. Vaccinate all resident horses. Use AAEP Guidelines for Vaccination (adult horses and foals) to include core and risk-based vaccines.
6. All horses on the property should be observed daily for signs of infectious disease. All farm personnel should be familiar with signs of infectious diseases and report any signs of disease promptly to a supervisor.
7. Separate pregnant mares from all other horses on the property, especially horses that travel frequently to other equine venues (e.g., shows, racetracks). Also consider separating mares into small groups (< 8 to10 mares per group) and keep groups physically separated to reduce cross contact until all the mares in a group have foaled. This will limit the on-facility spread of a disease if it occurs in an individual horse (i.e., EHV-1 abortion).
8. Vehicles and people are potential sources of infectious organisms. Limit access of visitors on the breeding facility to areas where they would have minimal contact with horses. For key personnel that need to have access to horses, have protocols in place to minimize the risk they pose. Strategies for minimizing risk of transmission by humans include the required use of clean coveralls and shoe covers dedicated to a given facility (or disposable barrier protection) within each separated group of mares and foals. Personnel should wash their hands prior to contacting resident horses and prior to departure from a group of animals or the facility. This shall include thorough hand cleansing with soap and water or the use of an alcohol based-hand sanitizer. In addition, use of foot baths for human traffic in barns or between paddocks/farms may help prevent dissemination of infectious organisms.
Use separate/dedicated equipment such as halters, lead ropes and blankets for each horse. Clean shared equipment and disinfect prior to use between horses (remove loose material, then appropriately clean, rinse, dry and disinfect).