Equine Health Tips from our Lead Veterinarian, Dr Jane Nixon - Biosecurity

Saturday, August 18

Equine Health Tips from our Lead Veterinarian, Dr Jane Nixon - Biosecurity

Ahead of the final week of the 2018 Futurity Series, Dr Jane Nixon advises on some important biosecurity issues. Feel free to contact Jane directly if you would like further advice on specific issues:

British Breeding Futurity 2018 Health Tips from Lead Vet , Dr Jane Nixon

British Breeding is looking for all people and horses to enjoy the Futurity Scheme and to protect our horses and ponies from infectious & contagious diseases.

Infectious diseases are those transmitted through the environment whilst contagious diseases are transmitted by direct contact.

Biosecurity  refers to the methods that are used to stop a disease or infection from spreading from one personanimal, or place to others.

Our Lead Vet, Dr Jane Nixon, has some important advice for everybody planning to attend a Futurity event:

To keep our youngsters healthy we should take care :-

Not to take any animal harbouring  infectious or contagious disease to a Futurity

& To avoid picking up such a disease away from home.



The main diseases of relevance to youngstersattending the Futurity, known as endemic– i.e. found regularly in horses and ponies in the UK – are: 

EHV  http://www.aht.org.uk/cms-display/science_herp.html

There is, as I write , concern regarding the increased incidence of Equine Herpes Virus[EHV] including Neurological Disease in Devon, Somerset, East Anglia, Gloucestershire & Europe generally.

Strangles   http://www.aht.org.uk/cms-display/strangles.html

Please note the Strangles update in the April 2018 Equine Veterinary Journal :-

Environmental survival of Streptococcus equi bacterium is far longer than has been previously reported: Survival in warm & dry conditions was detected for only up to 2 days, however in wet & cold conditions , S. Equi may remain viable for more than 30 days

There is therefore the possibility that similarly prolonged survival could occur following outbreaks of clinical disease, thus having a knock on effect on control strategies.

Equine Influenza: for information about this common disease, please go to  http://www.aht.org.uk/cms-display/science_eqflu.html

Above all, these diseases are all, always, preceded by an elevated temperature even of a short duration 1 to 4 days before clinical signs appear.

Check your foal’s or young horse’s temperature, particularly if he or she appears dull , lethargic or displays any metabolic changes or any unusual signs including coughing, nasal discharge, reduced appetite, swellings etc.


Guidelines for minimising risk of spread of infectious disease

Sensible and simple biosecurity steps for horse owners and competitors attending Futurities

Actions to take at home before attending an event ·

It is good practice to routinely take the rectal temperature of all horses twice daily and record these in a diary, along with any other abnormal health signs (e.g. coughing, nasal discharge, reduced appetite, swellings etc). 

It should then be obvious when an animal ‘spikes’ an abnormally increased rectal temperature (usually ≥38.5°C/101.3°C). 

 A horse ‘with a temperature’ (also referred to as fever or pyrexia) should be promptly isolated away from other animals and a veterinary examination requested. 

It is an important responsibility not to move horses off premises where infectious disease has been recently diagnosed as it is possible that seemingly healthy animals may be incubating the disease. If these horses are taken to events, they could spread infection to other horses

Even if a specific infection has not been identified, where there is evidence of possible spread through a group of animals, horses from those premises or those that have been recently exposed to other horses with an infection should absolutely notbe taken to events.

Actions to be taken while attending the event·

·Infections such as EHV-1 spread most easily through close direct contact between horses, indirect contact arising from sharing of feed/water buckets and tack such as bits/bridles or humans going between horses without applying appropriate hand hygiene measures ·

Unlike equine influenza, EHV-1 does not spread readily through the air between horses that are physically separated by more than 5-10m ·

With these two considerations in mind, the risk of transmission of EHV-1 whilst at an event can be greatly reduced by horse owners and competitors ‘keeping themselves and their horses to themselves’ and avoiding direct and indirect contact with others.

Click on this link to see if any diseases are identified in your area http://www.aht.org.uk/icc/linksicc.html

Please do not hesitate to contact  Futurity Lead Vet, Dr Jane Nixon 07713342416, for advice.

In cooperation with: