Good management is essential to disease control.
Here is some advice for the correct management of horses in the stable.
Good management is essential to disease control because bad management is a primary contributing cause of many disease, infections and otherwise. One of the wellknown disease is Azoturia, also known as Monday Morning Disease, that is a combinatin of bad mangement and disease expression.
One of the cause of it, is that the horse is given full rations on a rest day then taken out and worked as if the has been no change in his routine. In this case the problem could not be avoided.
Management is a key factor of modern infectious disease outbreaks and their spread. Workers can carry infection from one animal to another, phisically, and from one yard to another if access is open to them. While this is hardly intentional, it is entirely feasible, so that hygiene is now a vital consideration in all dealings with large numbers of horses. It’s not easy to consider every aspect of an animal’s day, his exercise, feeding and stabling, in relation to the influence each can have on disease.
We must focus on some basic points:
- Is the horse normal when first seen in the morning? Has he eaten and drunk his water? Is he happy and interested in your arrival? Is he moving freely about the stable?
- Is anything abnormal seen when his rugs are removed? Any galls from saddle, girth…? Any cough or nasal discharges?
- Are his feet cold and shoes firmly attached and not bearing on the sole? Is the frog full and healthy?
- When ridden out is he sound in action, moving freely and well?
- After exercise, is he lame, blowing excessively or otherwise distressed? Has he sweated a great deal?
- Are there any cuts or grazes, any sign of discomfort in the legs?
- At afternoon or evening stables, has the horse eaten his feed and is he drinking water?
- Is there any sign of illness, lameness, any heat in the legs or joints? Are droppings normal in texture and quantity? Is the horse staling normally?
- Is the animal warm in his surroundings and free from any draughts, but not overwarm?
Aside from these observations, the person caring for an animal must evaluate the quality of hay and feed, and give care to bedding making sure it is clean and dry. Fouling of the air by urine or faeces acts as an irritant to the lining of the respiratory passages and this fosters infection.
Keep bedding clean and dry at all times, never allowing dirt built-up because of bad stable drainage or poor floor design. The quality of hay and straw is basic to the development and control of conditions. Musty or moudly hay can also cause digestive upsets in some animals fed on it, but the spores in poor quality hay or bedding can cause respiratory problems for almost all horses.
Some advice for the good stable management:
- Tack and grooming kits may facilitate spread of infection from one animal to another.
- Hands, clothing, shoes and boots can carry infection.
- Brushes, barrows, other implements may do likewise.
- Muck and feed sacks are other sources of spread.
- Organisms flourish on dirty buckets, feed and water bowls.
- Limit dust disturbance in the animal’s presence.
- When judging the animal warmth’s, do it objectively. Just because you are too warm from mucking out or grooming doesn’t mean the animal is feeling the same.
- Decision on draught control should allow for weather changes which may occur in the night. A horse is in a less danger of infection when too warm than when too cold.
- Correct grooming and cleaning are the best disease prevention