The Horse

OCT 2018

The Horse:Your Guide To Equine Health Care provides monthly equine health care information to horse owners, breeders, veterinarians, barn/farm managers, trainer/riding instructors, and others involved in the hands-on care of the horse.

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26 October 2018 The Horse | EXPOSED when people hear rumors and are con- cerned about their horse," adds Traub- Dargatz. "Having someone designated to oversee communication and being consistent in messaging can help put the outbreak situation into perspective." In her experience managing outbreaks Traub-Dargatz has learned a few impor- tant strategies: 1. Never announce confirmation of an infectious disease without also outlin- ing a plan for dealing with it and a time frame for providing updates; 2. Relay the key points of the plan for dealing with the situation; and 3. Keep your messaging straightforward and consistent to avoid confusion. Excellent communication during an outbreak also reminds and motivates those involved to continue practicing the recommended biosecurity measures. Plans for Prevention "Control of disease takes effort on ev- eryone's part," says Flynn. "Implementing biosecurity measures to prevent an outbreak takes time and effort but is absolutely essential at any equine event. In my experience, any delay in imple- mentation of disease control efforts leads to continued disease spread and longer quarantines for regulatory diseases." She says the four most important steps to take at an event to minimize the chances of an outbreak include: 1. Limiting horse-to-horse and horse-to- human contact; 2. Avoiding communal water; 3. Not sharing equipment unless it has been cleaned and disinfected between uses; and 4. Monitoring the horse's health with twice-daily temperature recordings and reporting any temperature over 101.5 degrees F to a veterinarian. General recommendations Traub- Dargatz says owners should follow, regardless of the scenario, include: 1. Having their veterinarian vaccinate horses against preventable diseases based on their risk level for exposure; 2. Helping horses fend off disease by making transport as low-stress as pos- sible, providing well-ventilated—and, ideally, temperature-controlled— housing at events and at home, and offering optimal nutrition; 3. Taking steps to minimize the risk of disease introduction; and 4. Acting quickly in cases of suspected infectious disease, with a plan for how to minimize spread. In sum, Traub-Dargatz says, "Owners care about their horses and want to do what is best for them. If they have good everyday hygiene practices, it reduces risk of exposure. Plus, having necessary sup- plies and a pre-made 'worst-case scenario' plan already in place will make it easier to control an outbreak in a timely manner. Any actions we take to avoid a problem will help, especially considering everybody involved in an outbreak already has a full- time job doing the everyday things." h Like many farms, the Orange County facility had limited space for isolating infected horses, so veterinarians placed positive horses in temporary pipe corral pens in an arena. COURTESY KATIE HATCH 1952 Castle Rock Rd., Afton, VA 22920 USA + Tel: 540-456-6767, Fax 540-456-6700 Email:

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