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4 Steps to Help Prevent Infectious Disease

  1. Work with your vet – Your vet can develop an infectious disease prevention plan that takes into account your particular circumstances and those of your horse (e.g. age of your horse and where it is kept, amount of contact with other animals, whether your horse travels to other areas for events).
  2. Keep vaccinations current – Why risk serious (potentially fatal) infectious diseases when you can help prevent them with vaccinations? It's very important that your horse is vaccinated against the most common infectious diseases, and that you keep up-to-date with any boosters required. Develop a tailored vaccination protocol for your horse by clicking here. The vaccinations recommended by the Equine Infectious Disease Advisory Board (EIDAB) for most Australian horses include Hendra virus, tetanus, strangles and herpes virus. 
  3. Keep accurate records – Record any events (routine or otherwise) or health issues that your horse might experience. Seemingly minor or unrelated events might be the first sign that an infectious disease outbreak is occurring.
  4. Practice "biosecurity” measures – Evaluate the risk your horse faces and develop a plan to address them.

  • Evaluate the risk in your horse's environment – Try to identify anything that could increase your horse's risk of disease. For example, if your horse is kept in a barn that is a busy boarding and showing facility where there are always different people entering the barn, there may be a higher risk of strangles, because the bacteria can be spread to susceptible horses by people whose hands or clothing are contaminated.
  • Develop a plan to combat these risks – For example, getting people to wash their hands before they handle different horses can help minimise the risk of unintentionally spreading disease from one horse to another.
  • Inform others of the protocols – Ensure that other people (including visitors) are aware of the protocols in place. For example, put up signs requesting hand washing and install appropriate hand cleanser stations (e.g. alcohol-based cleansers that don't require water) in appropriate areas to make it easy for people to do the right thing.
  • Develop an infectious disease outbreak plan – Know what to do if an outbreak does occur (see next section).

TIPS:

  • Visit the Health4Horses Vaccination Guidelines page and enter a few simple details to develop a tailor-made vaccination protocol for your horse.
  • Or download the Health4Horses app here. The app will create a vaccination protocol for your horse, lets you store your Hendra vaccination certificate, keep a record of all vaccinations and worming and will even remind you when vaccination boosters are due!