Biosecurity Tip of the Month: Horse-to-Horse Contact

Biosecurity Tip of the Month: Horse-to-Horse Contact

Avoid horse-to-horse contact in exercise, competition, and grooming areas to help keep your horse from contracting a disease.

Photo: The Horse Staff

Sick horses are everywhere, and it's not always easy—or possible—to tell a healthy animal from one that's shedding disease. Attending shows, clinics, trail rides, and other equine events can expose your horse to such ailments if he comes in contact with other horses, no matter how brief the meeting is. Here's how to protect your horse from picking up diseases via horse-to-horse contact.

Biosecurity Risk: A sick horse can spread pathogens by direct contact with another horse. How you manage your horse at events determines his risk of contracting a disease:

  • High Biosecurity Risk—You allow unlimited horse-to-horse contact in exercise, competition, and grooming areas.
  • Medium Biosecurity Risk—You allow limited or occasional contact in exercise, competition, and grooming areas.
  • Minimal Biosecurity Risk—You prohibit your horse from coming in contact with other horses in exercise, competition, and grooming areas.

Biosecurity Fix: Ensure adequate spacing of horses in exercise, competition, and grooming areas to limit direct horse-to-horse contact, and avoid tying horses to fences where contact with other horses is possible.

And as always, remember to provide a safe and healthy environment for your horse by practicing good biosecurity at your farm and while traveling. 

Information provided by the California Department of Food and Agriculture Biosecurity Toolkit for Equine Events

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