How To Develop A Practical Biosecurity Plan For Your Barn – Great Tips

How to Develop a Practical Biosecurity Plan for Your Barn – Great Tips

How to Develop a Practical Biosecurity Plan for Your Barn – Great Tips

Barns are naturally very social environments, for both humans and horses. This is a wonderful thing, but in such a socially diverse environment, we should take specific steps to ensure the prevention of the spread of disease or illness. This is especially true if you run an equestrian facility where different horses come and go, such as boarders or for clinics. Here are some tips for developing a useful and practical biosecurity plan for your barn to ensure that everyone stays happy and healthy.

Vaccination & Nutrition

Just as we take measures to keep ourselves healthy and resistant to disease, it’s essential to do the same with our horses. Develop a list of vaccinations that are required to be administered to any horses that will be calling your barn home. Request that all new boarders present proof that said vaccinations have been administered, and make it a requirement that all horses must keep up with their regular ongoing vaccinations to remain a boarder. Before show season, ask the boarders who are travelling away for shows for proof of vaccinations. Such reminders can be scheduled in Stablebuzz yearly or repeating every few months. These preventative measures help to minimize the chance of a horse missing the required vaccinations and bringing home disease to others.

Another essential aspect of maintaining optimal health is nutrition. Encourage your boarders to ensure that their horses are receiving a well-designed feeding and supplement plan to maintain proper health, which in turn fights off any disease or illness they may come in contact with.

New Arrival Isolation

Always designate an area away from the other horses for new arrivals to get settled in before placing them in their new home among the barn’s general population. This isolation period should last anywhere from seven to fourteen days. Consider having your veterinarian pay a visit to conduct a thorough examination of the horse, or require the horse’s owner to present a Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) before the horse’s arrival.

No Shared Equipment

Brushes, halters, buckets, and blankets are all examples of things that should be solely dedicated to one horse and should not be shared. Not sharing these things can be hard to enforce, so ongoing education and awareness are the best tools. Ensure that all horses have their equipment and tack clearly labelled. Save pictures of a horse’s tack and blankets into the horse’s file in Stablebuzz so stablehands can quickly identify it when questions inevitably arise. Require all riders that travel to shows to bring all necessary equipment instead of sharing, and educate them on the rules prohibiting them from sharing any equipment with riders from other barns. When they get home from the show, sanitize all equipment before it reenters the stable. 

In the Case of Illness or Disease

If a horse in your barn is diagnosed with an illness or disease, they require immediate quarantine, and there is a chance you will need to quarantine your entire property. The prevention of the further spread of disease is extremely time-sensitive, and you must consider all recent interactions. Have the horse’s stall and any areas that the horse has been (arenas, paddocks, etc.) thoroughly disinfected. Make sure staff and clients are aware of the horse’s condition and that anyone who handles the sick horse(s) always do so after the healthy horses have been handled to reduce the chance of transmission. You should keep your veterinarian and the livestock health authorities in your area up to date and follow their direction. It would be wise to notify your insurance company from the start so they can guide you to minimize your liability.

With proper preventative planning and an effective action plan in place, you reduce your chances of a contagious illness finding its way into your stable. However, even the most diligent stables can have such a disease sneak in, so how professional your organization’s response is will determine the public’s view of the situation. So, build your practical biosecurity plan in advance to promote the happiness and well-being of all riders and horses that call your barn home.