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Author: Alan Wielunski, Published: April 4, 2022
Biosecurity refers to the measures that must be taken to limit and prevent the spread of infectious diseases. There are enough articles around that provide you with information on how to develop a biosecurity plan for your stable.
I want to focus on the first and most basic task that you have to do and that is to take your horse’s temperature on a regular basis. Unfortunately, this becomes very labor intensive when you have more than one horse or that you operate a breeding stable where stallions have to be checked twice a day.
In March 2021, there was an outbreak of the deadly and infectious EHV-1 (Equine Herpes Virus) that originated at a major international competition in Valencia, Spain. Many horses died, 150 placed in quarantine.
As a result, the FEI (International Federation for Equestrian Sports) cancelled all competitions in 10 mainland EU countries until further notice. It only takes one sick horse to cripple an entire industry. The cost to the industry associated with closing down racetracks, show arenas, training facilities, etc., is potentially astronomical, so too, that of protracted periods of downtime in training and competition schedules, and as important, the emotional hardship. This is a major issue and concern for EU regulators and the equine industry in general.
Currently, horses are chipped for identification purposes only. It’s mandatory in Europe but not the U.S. No way to monitor their movements for biosecurity purposes or early detection of potential cross-border transmission of infectious diseases.
So, what can we do to prevent this from happening again in the future?
Well, it starts with prevention.
The good news is that a few years ago, a new type of chip was developed. The bio-thermo chip with a built-in temperature biosensor that is able to accurately measure a horse’s temperature, which you can then check with an external scanner and app that was developed. Still cumbersome. There is also a patch solution but again, labor intensive.
At the moment the new bio-thermo chip can only be implanted in unchipped foals or horses, so if you want to protect your horse, ask your vet for the new bio-thermo chip. It’s a worthwhile investment.