When you import, buy, or adopt a new horse, sometimes it’s necessary to set up a quarantine. Quarantining a horse refers to separating that horse from the rest of your herd for a period of time–generally 30 days–until you’re certain the horse doesn’t have any diseases. It's the safest way to introduce a new horse to your property, but the logistics of it aren't always easy. It takes planning and forethought to maintain a true quarantine, and here's how to do it.
Need to quarantine a new horse? Check out these five tips.
1. House the Horse in a Separate Building
Ideally, a quarantine horse should be kept in a building which is entirely separated from any buildings housing other horses. If you have a small barn or other shelter on your property, designate it as the quarantine location.
2. Designate the Horse His Own Set of Supplies
The separated horse should be given his own set of supplies, including grooming tools, water buckets, feed buckets, a wheelbarrow, and a pitchfork. These tools should be used to care for the quarantine horse, and must be kept in the quarantine barn away from other horses. Mark these tools using brightly colored tape so that they aren’t accidentally used to care for any other horses.
3. Designate One Person to Care for the Horse
In order for quarantine to be effective, only one person should care for the quarantined horse. That person shouldn’t travel into other barns or care for other horses. This helps to reduce the risk of the spread of disease and makes for a more effective quarantine.
If more than one person must care for the quarantined horse, then make sure that they care for the other horses first. The caregivers should then go directly home, or go wash up and change their clothes.
4. Monitor Your Horse’s Health
As you keep your horse separated from the herd, be sure to keep a close eye on his health. Take his temperature regularly to watch for a fever and make a note of his eating habits, symptoms, and general demeanor at least twice a day. If your horse begins to display symptoms of an illness, have your vet out immediately.
5. Hire a Quarantine Facility
Truly quarantining a horse can be very difficult if your stable isn’t set up for it. In some cases it may be best to ship your new addition to facility. Quarantine facilities are designed for this exact purpose, and they can take the burden and worry off your shoulders. Once the horse has passed the quarantine period, he’ll be on his way home to your stable.
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Quarantining a horse can be a tedious process, but it’s a necessary step in protecting the health of the other horses in your stable.