I have just completed another course on equine biosecurity. As I travel to many different barns in both Ontario and Quebec, I take this subject very seriously. My heart breaks when I hear that a case of Equine Infectious Anemia or other similar disease has been confirmed. Knowing that the horses in the contaminated barn will have to be euthanized, one can't help but wonder if this tragedy could have been avoided.
Indirect contamination (manure on our shoe soles, hair or mucus on our gloves, etc.) represents a real risk. As horse professionals, we go to many different barns and it is our duty to be careful. These are some of the precautions we should all be taking:
- Not travel to a barn contaminated by an infectious disease
- Wash/disinfect our hands upon arrival and departure from a barn
- Avoid unnecessary contact with horses
- Disinfect our tools, equipment and shoe soles
- Change clothes (outer layer), especially when horses tend to touch us with their nose
- Use clean gloves for every barn
If you ride in a riding school or own a horse, take precautions when participating in shows or visiting other barns. Equine Guelph has great resources on that topic.