The implementation of biosecurity practices and visitor protocols on non-commercial horse properties in New Zealand

Massey Equine, Institute of Veterinary, Animal, and Biomedical Sciences, Massey University, Private Bag 11-222, Palmerston North, New Zealand. Electronic address: .
Preventive Veterinary Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.17). 06/2012; 107(1-2):85-94. DOI: 10.1016/j.prevetmed.2012.05.001
Source: PubMed


A survey was conducted to investigate biosecurity practices on non-commercial horse properties, to describe the number of visits by horse professionals and any protocols that visitors were required to follow before interacting with resident horses. Data were collected in November 2009 during a cross-sectional study of non-commercial horse properties, in New Zealand, selected using generalised random-tessellated stratified design and a self-administered postal questionnaire. Data were described and the associations between property-level factors and biosecurity practices were analysed using logistic regression analysis. In total there were 791 respondents from non-commercial horse properties, of which 660 (83%) answer at least one question relating to biosecurity practices. Of the respondents, 95% had at least one biosecurity practice for arriving horses. Only 31% of properties isolated horses for more than four days, and few respondents checked for pyrexia or other clinical signs of infectious disease in new horses. Moving horses from a property was associated with the implementation of biosecurity practices and practices specific to the clinical signs of respiratory disease. Overall, 79% of properties had horse professional's visit, but only 33% of respondents reported biosecurity protocols for these visitors. Most properties had some knowledge about newly arriving horses, but the effectiveness of these practices for biosecurity were questionable, as few practices would stop disease spread to resident horses. Horse professionals are likely candidates for disease spread due to contact with horses, limited visitor protocols and the frequency of visits. The development of a plan to improve biosecurity for endemic and exotic disease is recommended.

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    • "The poor biosecurity conditions reported for farms with horses are alarming and there is obviously room for improvement. Need for improvement of biosecurity among horse owners and horse practitioners has also been identified in other countries [3,39,40] "
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    ABSTRACT: Background On-farm biosecurity is an important part of disease prevention and control, this applies to live animal contacts as well as indirect contacts e.g. via professionals visiting farms in their work. The objectives of this study were to investigate how professionals visiting animal farms in Sweden in their daily work perceive the on-farm conditions for biosecurity, the factors that influence their own biosecurity routines and what they describe as obstacles for biosecurity. Suggestions for improvements were also asked for. Questionnaires were distributed to professionals visiting farms in their daily work; veterinarians, livestock hauliers, artificial insemination technicians, animal welfare inspectors and cattle hoof trimmers. The sample was a convenience sample, based on accessibility to registers or collaboration with organisations distributing the questionnaire. Respondents were asked about the availability of certain biosecurity conditions related to farm visits, e.g. if facilities for hand washing were available, how important different factors were for their own routines and, through open ended questions, to describe obstacles and suggestions for improvement. Results After data cleaning, there were responses from 368 persons. There was a difference in the proportion of visited farms reported to have certain biosecurity measures in place related to animal species present on the farm. In general, visited pig farms had a higher proportion of biosecurity measures in place, whereas the conditions were poorer on sheep and goat farms and horse farms. There were also differences between the visitor categories; the perceived conditions for biosecurity varied between the groups, e.g. livestock hauliers did not have access to hand washing facilities as often as veterinarians did. In all groups, a majority of the respondents perceived obstacles for on-farm biosecurity, among veterinarians 66% perceived that there were obstacles. Many of the reported obstacles related to the very basics of biosecurity, such as access to soap and water. Responsibility was identified to be a key issue; while some farmers expect visitors to take responsibility for keeping up biosecurity they do not provide the adequate on-farm conditions. Conclusions Many of the respondents reported obstacles for keeping good biosecurity related to on-farm conditions. There was a gap when it came to responsibility which needs to be clarified. Visitors need to take responsibility for avoiding spread of disease, while farmers need to assume responsibility for providing adequate conditions for on-farm biosecurity.
    Acta Veterinaria Scandinavica 05/2014; 56(1):28. DOI:10.1186/1751-0147-56-28 · 1.38 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Aims: To investigate property-level factors associated with the movement of horses from non-commercial horse properties, including the size and location of the property, number and reason for keeping horses. Methods: Using a cross-sectional survey 2,912 questionnaires were posted to randomly selected non-commercial horse properties listed in a rural property database. The survey collected information about the number of horses, and reasons for keeping horses on the property, and any movement of horses in the previous 12 months. Three property-level outcomes were investigated; the movement status of the property, the frequency of movement events, and the median distance travelled from a property. Associations were examined using logistic regression and Kruskal-Wallis analysis of variance. Results: In total 62.0% (488/791) of respondents reported at least one movement event in the year prior to the survey, for a total of 22,050 movement events. The number of movement events from a property varied significantly by the number of horses on the property (p<0.02), while the median distance travelled per property varied significantly by both region (p<0.03) and property size (p<0.01). Region, property size, the number of horses kept, and keeping horses for competition, recreation, racing or as pets were all significantly associated with movement status in the multivariable analyses (p<0.001). Conclusion and clinical relevance: This study showed that there are characteristics of non-commercial horse properties that influence movement behaviour. During an exotic disease outbreak the ability to identify properties with these characteristics for targeted control will enhance the effectiveness of control measures.
    New Zealand veterinary journal 02/2013; 61(5). DOI:10.1080/00480169.2012.750571 · 1.26 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: AIM: To summarise investigation and laboratory data collected between 2001 and 2011 to provide evidence that equine arteritis virus is not present in the horse population of New Zealand. METHODS: Analysis was carried out on results from laboratory tests carried out at the Ministry for Primary Industries Animal Health Laboratory (AHL) for equine arteritis virus from horses tested prior to being imported or exported, testing of stallions as part of the New Zealand equine viral arteritis (EVA) control scheme and testing as part of transboundary animal disease (TAD) investigations for exclusion of EVA. Horse breeds were categorised as Thoroughbred, Standardbred or other. RESULTS: A total of 7,157 EVA serological test records (from import and export testing, EVA control scheme testing and TAD investigations) were available for analysis between 2005 and 2011. For the three breed categories a seroprevalence of ≤1.6% at the 95% confidence level was determined for each category. Between 2001 and 2011, as part of the EVA control scheme, the EVA status of 465 stallions was determined to be negative. During 2005-2011 EVA was excluded from 84 TAD investigations. CONCLUSIONS: There was no evidence of equine arteritis virus being present in the general horse population outside of carrier stallions managed under the EVA control scheme. CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Equine arteritis virus is absent from the general horse population of New Zealand.
    New Zealand veterinary journal 04/2013; 61(5). DOI:10.1080/00480169.2012.755664 · 1.26 Impact Factor
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