Interspecies Threats: Is Your Horse at Risk?

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What’s your level of “wary” around the barn? Are you of the mindset that what you don’t see won’t necessarily hurt you or your horse, or are you a bit more barn-detective-paranoid? What was that rustling in the brush on the far side of the fence? Are the mosquitoes worse this year than last? What kind of vermin poop is that beside the feed bin? What the heck ... did you just see a raccoon in broad daylight?!

“Biosecurity protocols were largely designed to help mitigate pathogen transmission between horses and from humans to horses, but what protocols do you have in place to protect horses from diseases that are spread from wild animals and insects to your horse?” asks Scott Weese, DVM, DVSc, Dipl. ACVIM, professor in the Department of Pathology at the University of Guelph’s Ontario Veterinary College.

Sure, you use insect repellents and fly sheets, try to minimize turnout at dawn and dusk, and seal your barn from pests in the evening, but is there more you can do to protect your horses from critters? 

In this article we will review some of the most common diseases transmitted to horses from other animals and discuss ways to minimize the chances of your horses becoming ill. 

The Watcher in the Woods, The Winged Assassin, The Stranger in the Night, The Barn Intruder, The Bloodsucker, The Microscopic Menace, and more. This story continues in the February 2016 issue of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care. Subscribe now and get an immediate download of this issue to learn about how to protect your horse from these disease threats.

About the Author

Stacey Oke, DVM, MSc

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she's worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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