Quarantine is an important, effective and underused practice on horse farms. Quarantine can reduce the risk of introducing new infectious agents to animals on the farm or limit the spread of something that’s already starting to circulate through the herd.
A recent article from TheHorse.com gives a good overview of why and how to implement quarantine. Importantly, it emphasizes that quarantine is not just for large, high-risk farms, and that any farm can and should have a quarantine plan. Not everyone can implement a quarantine protocol easily. We know and accept that, but the inability to implement a textbook quarantine program can’t be used as an excuse to do nothing. Even a cursory quarantine program, with some basic practices to reduce direct and indirect contact of quarantined horses with other horses, can be very useful.
Most of the time, quarantine goes uneventfully and no problems are encountered. That sometimes leads to complacency, but it’s the few cases where quarantine contains a problem that makes it all worthwhile. The implications of a single horse getting past quarantine can be huge, both for the individual farm and more broadly (e.g. Australian influenza outbreak). The article has some sound, practical advice that all horse owners should consider.
Image from Chemical Hazard Signs – MySafetySign.com