Saddle Up Safely Campaign Unveils New Booklet

"Can you catch a disease from a horse?" was the question.

Roberta Dwyer, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVPM, professor in the Department of Veterinary Science in the University of Kentucky's College of Agriculture, took the lead for Saddle Up Safely in providing an answer. She consulted with a group of Central Kentucky veterinarians and disease experts to compile practical information for horse enthusiasts. The resulting booklet is now available via the Saddle Up Safely Web site.

Dwyer introduces the booklet via an introductory letter. The contents of Dwyer's letter, found below, highlight the importance of this topic.

Do horses get rabies? Can you get the flu from your horse? What horse diseases can you catch? Do you know the answers to these questions? With certainty?

Many people do not know that horses can contract rabies from a rabid animal bite, and therefore be a threat to human health. Rabies is likely the most commonly known zoonotic disease, which is one that can be transmitted between animals and people. Other diseases common to horses and people, such as influenza, may have the same name, but are not transmissible between the two species. The virus strain that infects horses does not infect people and vice versa.

Every horse person needs to know about zoonotic diseases for their own safety as well as that of their families and employees. Your veterinarian is an important source of information about zoonotic diseases, and he or she is best equipped to advise you on routine equine vaccinations and preventive medicine. Zoonotic diseases and their clinical signs, as well as common-sense advice are discussed in this brochure.

For more information about the Saddle Up Safely campaign, or to receive a copy of the brochure, please visit

Roberta M. Dwyer, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVPM, professor in the Department of Veterinary Science

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