By Jess Hallas-Kilcoyne
The show season is beginning, which means increased travel and exposure to horses (and possibly diseases) from other regions. Here are some tips to help keep your horse safe and healthy at competitions.
#1 Good health management begins with a routine vaccination program developed by you and your veterinarian. Remember to keep track of all health records for your horse.
#2 If you have your own rig, try not to trailer other horses. If you do give somebody else’s horses a ride, trailer their horses separately from your own and disinfect the trailer immediately after.
#3 Upon arrival at a competition, take the time to disinfect the stall and allow it to dry before your horse enters. Also, make sure that the old waste and bedding have been completely removed.
#4 Don’t share water buckets, grooming tools, or other items with owners of other horses. If you do lend out your belongings, wash or disinfect them before using them with your own horse.
#5 Bring your own water hose to competitions and use it to fill your horse’s water buckets. Immersing the nozzle of a hose in a water bucket can transfer organisms from one bucket to another.
#6 Don’t let your horse come into contact with other horses or touch noses with them. Do not allow your horse to sniff manure.
#7 Always wash your hands before handling your horse and after touching other horses. If you have handled a horse that you suspect might be ill, change your shoes and clothing before handling another horse.
#8 Monitor your horse for signs of illness. It’s good practice to take your horse’s temperature at least once a day while travelling and for at least a week after you get home. Watch for such symptoms as nasal discharge, loss of appetite, depression, and coughing, and call your vet immediately if you observe any of these warning signs.
Have a safe and healthy show season!