Before Traveling, Take Horse-Health Precautions |

Before Traveling, Take Horse-Health Precautions

Events are prime places for horses to spread infectious diseases. It’s common to hear reports of disease outbreaks at racetracks, horse shows and rodeos. If you go on the road, taking simple measures to help protect your horse could mean the difference between coming home with a prize or coming home with a sick horse.

Contagious diseases endanger the well-being of horses, posing financial risk and creating anxiety for the horse owner. Horses that travel are sometimes exposed to less-than-ideal conditions, such as:

Enclosed spaces.

Poor ventilation.

Fluctuating temperature.

Co-mingling with other horses.

That’s on top of the stress of travel, which can weaken a horse’s immune system and increase the risk of equine herpesvirus infection.

Equine herpesvirus Type 1 (EHV-1) and Type 4 (EHV-4) are associated with four different EHV syndromes. EHV-4 is predominantly associated with respiratory disease, while EHV-1 can cause respiratory disease, as well, and lead to abortion, neonatal foal death and the more serious and sometimes fatal neurologic syndrome.

Prevention Starts With Biosecurity

To help guard your horse against a potentially fatal disease, check out the biosecurity checklist from AQHA Corporate Partner Zoetis.

Biosecurity best practices when stabling your horse at a public event include:

Strip out old bedding and clean stalls with a detergent and disinfectant.

Limit contact with other horses or humans by putting a drape over the front of the horse’s stall or barn breezeway.

Don’t allow horses to touch noses.

Make sure handlers use a hand sanitizer each time they handle a horse.

Instruct visitors not to touch or feed the horse.

Don’t share tack or equipment.

Biosecurity doesn’t stop there.

Before leaving the show grounds or racetrack backside, clean and disinfect:




Grooming supplies

Biosecurity when you return home:

Change your clothes and boots prior to handling resident horses.

Isolate any returning horses from your resident horses for 14 days and monitor for clinical signs of an infectious disease.

You can’t always prevent horses from contracting upper respiratory disease, but you can help their chance of staying well by taking biosecurity measures and vaccinating before travel to help support their immune system. After you’ve invested time and money preparing for that big event, don’t let your stressed horse become a sick horse.

Vaccinations for Prevention

Be sure your horses are current on their vaccinations, whether you are traveling or at home. Vaccines, including CORE EQ INNOVATOR™ and FLUVAC INNOVATOR are available to help protect your horses against core and risk-based disease. Be sure to talk with your veterinarian before starting or modifying a vaccination program. Learn more at

Equine Diseases and Protecting Your Horse

The AQHA Disease Information Hub, powered by Zoetis, is your source for the latest news and information regarding the health and well-being of your racehorse.

Visit and you’ll find important information regarding equine diseases and the latest information to protect your horse.


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