Last year, the UK horse industry was given a reminder of the increasing threat from infectious disease when Equine Infectious Anaemia was diagnosed in three locations in England for the first time since 1976. The first case occurred in Wiltshire in January, followed by cases in Northumberland and Devon in September.
It has never been so important to minimise the risk of serious and contagious diseases from entering or spreading across the country. An outbreak of disease could be catastrophic for the equestrian industry as well as threatening the welfare of horses in general.
Some worrying findings from the World Horse Welfare’s 2009 Livery Yard Survey suggest that many people are not aware of the risks or what preventative action should be taken:
- 61% of stables were not cleaned out between occupants
- 48% said there were no isolation facilities
- 38% said there were no procedures to exclude horses with disease
An outbreak of disease could be catastrophic for the equestrian industry as well as threatening the welfare of horses in general
To help UK horse owners protect their horses against the ever-present and increasing threat from a number of infectious diseases, World Horse Welfare launched a free disease prevention information pack last summer. Keep Your Horse Healthy aims to highlight the need for every horse owner to be aware of diseases such as EIA, Strangles and Flu, and offers simple steps to help protect against their entry and spread.
So far, more than 2,000 copies of the pack have been requested and World Horse Welfare have had some fantastic feedback from experts in the field. To request your copy, please click here to complete our online request form or call the Campaigns Team on 01953 497232.
World Horse Welfare Chief Executive, Roly Owers, comments: “The pack has been created to give horse owners and keepers practical advice as to how they can minimise the incursion and spread of disease. Simple, everyday actions such as good hygiene, avoiding mixing with unfamiliar horses, and maintaining good routine health care are essential in the fight against disease.
“Our research has shown that we as an industry are not addressing the current risk of disease. With the growing popularity of horse riding, climate change and the ever-increasing movement of horses, both within the UK and overseas, the threat of disease is on the increase. We’re extremely concerned that if we as a horse owning nation do not act now we will have an epidemic situation on our hands. Education is vital to protect our horses. Every horse owner has an obligation not only to their own horse, but to the horses in their yard and across the country.”
Taking preventative steps against the spread of disease is just one of the World Horse Welfare’s recommended welfare tips.
Article replicated with kind permission from the World Horse Welfare website.