The public health threat presented by COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus, is impacting all of the United States. The equine industry is not immune and we all need to take the proactive steps for our agricultural industries to insure our own health and that of our industry. Protecting the health of ourselves, families, friends, employees and one another is of paramount importance.
As horsemen and horsewomen – we are knowledgeable and familiar with biosecurity. We have all worked through disease outbreaks, quarantines, and understand the basic principles to mitigating disease transmission in horses. The environment we are in today however should require us all to apply and expand these principles. The standards defined below should be considered, adopted, implemented and practiced by all horsemen working together in our industry.
According to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s Office of State Veterinarian the following guidance is encouraged and may be applied. I encourage each affiliate to print the following:
- Familiarize yourself and your employees about the Coronavirus Guidelines For America
- If you feel sick, stay home. Do not work. Contact your medical provider.
- If your children are sick, keep them at home. Do not send them to school. Contact your medical provider.
- If someone in your household has tested positive for the virus, keep the entire household at home. Do not go to work. Do not go to school. Contact your medical provider.
- If you are an older person, stay home and away from other people.
- If you are person with a serious underlying health condition that can put you at increased risk (for example, a condition that impairs your lung or heart function or weakens your immune system), stay home and away from other people.
- Limit individuals from unnecessarily congregating and maintaining a responsible social distance between individuals. Social distancing is the phrase of the month and is defined as a 6 foot perimeter/space between individuals.
- Please keep up to date with the Centers for Disease Control Guidance, which includes best practices during this time.
Caring For Our Horses and Industry:
The following are best practices for those in the equine indusrty.
1. Barns should be open to allow as much exchange of fresh air as possible
2. Equipment (leads, shanks, twitches, grooming etc.): Should be assigned to a barn and not passed to different individuals. This equipment should be cleaned and disinfected daily.
3. Surfaces (desk, rails, gates etc.) having contact with individuals or equipment should be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
4. Paperwork: Paperwork should be completed and submitted electronically – if possible.
5. Communication should be via phone call, email or text when possible.
6. Veterinarians and other individuals who visit multiple facilities daily must understand and accept the additional steps they must take to avoid becoming contaminated and potentially transferring the contagion to other environments.
7. Stable Employees (there should be no physical contact between individuals and they should practice social distancing).
> All stable employees should check their temperatures 2x daily and if an elevated fever is detected they should report the fever to their supervisor.
> Where possible, employees should be ‘consistently compartmentalized’, meaning individuals day-to-day routines should be that they work with the same people daily, and do not work different shifts having interaction with new or different individuals.
> Ideally, there would be one employee per barn working with the veterinarian or other individuals who are working in the stable. This individual should be at or near the head of the horse and away from the attending professional.
Implementing these practices, and any other action you can take to eliminate people from congregating in common areas will be beneficial and could be critical in our ability to continue business is as normal manner as possible. I will do my best to keep you updated regularly through emails and social media posts.
As always, I encourage you to share this information with your affiliate members family, friends, and encourage them to sign up for updates from the National HBPA.