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Risk of Rotavirus

Transmission of rotavirus occurs through direct contact with infected faeces, for example, if a foal eats or even licks infected droppings.2

Once a foal has been infected, it can shed the virus for up to 10 days2, and the virus then survive up to 9 months in the environment3

Minimising risk

There are steps you can take to minimise the risk of problems caused by rotavirus infection:

  • Vaccinate your breeding mares.2,4
  • Keep infected foals away from other young horses.4
  • Strict hygiene is vital – disinfect the affected stall, equipment and any clothing that has come into contact with the sick foal.4
  • Wear protective clothing when you come into contact with an affected horse, and either discard it afterwards or leave it in the affected stall.4 




  1. Australian Government Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation. Rotavirus and equine diarrhoea. Equine Research News, July 2013.
  2. Equine rotavirus in horses. Available online: Accessed 27/8/13
  3. Bailey et al, Equine Rotaviruses – Current Understanding and Continuing Challenges, Veterinary Microbiology (2013)
  4. Dwyer RM. Control and prevention of foal diarrhea outbreaks. Proceedings of the Annual Convention of the AAEP 2001; Vol 47: 472–5.