Keeping Your Horses Healthy On The Road

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Good biosecurity both at home and on the road will help keep your horses healthy.

With the summer show season in full swing, many owners are traveling with their American Quarter Horses to events across the country. Keeping horses healthy when traveling presents some challenges, but careful management and simple biosecurity precautions can help protect horses from exposure to disease.
Travel stress due to trailering and being in an unfamiliar environment is always a concern for horse owners. To help combat this stress, trailer horses with a familiar companion whenever possible. Owners may also choose to supplement feed with electrolytes or feed hay soaked in water to aid hydration. Consult with your veterinarian for more information on how to minimize the effects of travel stress on your horse, including immunomodulators. A properly administered immunomodulator can help a horse’s immune system function more efficiently against certain pathogens.

Before you haul, do some training with your horse to be sure you will not have any trailer-loading issues while on the road. AQHA’s FREE Horse Trailer Loading Tips report offers advice on how to have your horse walking comfortably in and out of the trailer.

An example of an immunomodulator is ZYLEXIS®, an inactivated (killed) parapox ovis virus that stimulates the horse’s immune system to aid in the reduction of equine upper respiratory disease associated with equine herpesvirus (EHV) Type 1 and Type 4 infections. When administered prior to exposure to stressful situations, ZYLEXIS® can help stimulate a horse’s immune system to function more efficiently against EHV-1 and EHV-4 pathogens. The use of ZYLEXIS® to help reduce the severity and duration of upper respiratory symptoms in exposed horses has been demonstrated in a contact challenge study.¹ Practitioners in Germany have been using it in patients for more than a decade.

Get your horse ready to travel with AQHA’s FREE Horse Trailer Loading Tips report. This report contains sound advice that is good for any horse, no matter its experience.

When on the road, be sure to maintain an up-to-date Coggins test for all your horses and carry it with you when you travel, along with a list of all current vaccinations and any medications needed. Travel to some states or regions may require health certificates or proof of certain vaccinations, so be sure to research any requirements beforehand. Your veterinarian is a good source of up-to-date regulations for travel.

Practice good barn hygiene when you arrive at the destination facility. Disinfect stalls prior to moving your horses in and do not use common water buckets or feed areas at event grounds. Other items that should not be shared include twitches, lip chains, halters or other items that may touch a horse’s eyes, nose or mouth. Keep daily temperature logs for your horses, particularly if they seem lethargic or go off their feed. Isolate sick animals immediately when signs are recognized.

Continue reading this story on America's Horse Daily.

Photo:  Take the appropriate precautions to protect your horses.  Journal photo.