Travelling with horses presents several risks associated with the spread of disease; to maintain the health of you horse and prevent potential outbreaks, keep the following guidelines in mind:
- Horses should be healthy before leaving the property. Do not travel with a horse that is already showing clinical signs of illness. Travel further stresses a horse’s system, can result in more severe illness, and moving sick or exposed horses can spread disease to others. To maintain your horse’s health keep them on a vaccination plan, a deworming schedule, a diet appropriate for your horse’s workload, and an adequate exercise program.
- Your horse’s mode of transportation can pose a risk. Trailers make excellent fomites (a fomite is an object or material likely to harbor infection). Clean your trailer between every trip, limit your horse’s ability to touch other horses in the trailer, and disinfect all surfaces regularly.
- Different regions pose different risks of infection. If you are travelling long distance, your destination may pose a risk to your horse’s health. Risk Based Vaccines are administered to horses in regions where a disease is considered endemic. Some vaccines are given multiple times over the course of a year in regions where insect vectors are active year-round.
- Consider your destination. Are you travelling to a facility for an event and, if so, does that facility have biosecurity in mind? Are you travelling to a trail ride, or outdoor event where contact with other horses and/or shared water sources might pose a risk?
- Keep separate equipment for your horse/trailer. Keep your own pitchforks, muck buckets, hoses, water buckets, feed pans/buckets, grooming supplies, and tack separate from others. Do not share equipment between horses and clean and disinfect your equipment regularly.
Keeping Horses Healthy and Sound During Transport (podcast), The Horse (timestamps 1:30 to 8:15, 20:00 to 20:58)