Vermont enjoys a diverse equine population, comprised of over 13,000 horses utilized for work, pleasure, therapy, breeding and competition. As horses move within Vermont and into other states for a multitude of reasons, they are exposed to viruses, bacteria and other pathogens that may cause disease. Even horses that stay home may be at risk for disease due to the manner in which pathogens are transmitted. It is imperative that every horse owner and handler familiarize themselves with the principles of equine biosecurity and ensure that these tenets are consistently implemented at home, at boarding facilities and in competitive venues. Equine biosecurity refers to a set of preventive measures designed to reduce the risk for introduction and transmission of infectious disease.
It is important to remember the adage "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" when identifying ways to protect your equine companions. The following resources contain biosecurity recommendations that you can easily implement at home and on the road, as well as tools that you can use everywhere horses are living, competing, or commingling.
- Receive general equine disease and related updates from the Vermont Agency of Agriculture (VAAFM) by contacting the State Veterinarian and requesting that your name and email address be added to the equine industry distribution list
- Stay up to date on equine disease outbreaks happening around the country, and sign up to receive automatic email alerts from the Equine Disease Communication Center
- Learn about basic equine facility biosecurity recommendations for horse owners and professionals
- Review the biosecurity toolkit for equine events, and utilize the tools in the appendices at your own event
- Find out your farm's biosecurity score and learn how to improve it
- Review fact sheets pertaining to multiple equine diseases
- Learn about how state and federal animal health officials may respond to a case of Equine Herpes Myeloencephalopathy on your farm or at an equine event you are attending