By Wendy Talbot on 22 November 2021

Biosecurity: what you need to know

The word biosecurity may sound complicated but in fact it is simply a set of management practices to help keep horses safe from disease. Putting a biosecurity plan into place really isn’t as challenging as it may sound.


It’s always best to apply biosecurity measures every day: waiting until an outbreak of any infectious disease such as EHV, flu or ringworm occurs is usually too late so it's far better to make biosecurity a part of your daily routine – it will soon become a habit and your horse will be much safer from disease as a result.


Follow these 12 biosecurity tips to reduce the risk of disease spread on your yard


  • Know your horse: recognising what is normal for your horse in terms of behaviour and vital signs will help you quickly spot when anything may be amiss in terms of health. Find out more about vital signs here Vital Signs - YouTube
  • Keep flu and EHV vaccinations up to date: Unvaccinated horses have the greatest risk of developing more severe signs of flu and a longer recovery period. If at least 70% of horses are vaccinated it will help to reduce the spread of disease within a population – this is called herd immunity.
  • Wash your hands after handling an unknown horse before your own and ask others to wash their hands before touching your horse.
  • Don’t allow any of your horse’s equipment to be shared with other horses. This includes buckets, brushes and tack. Don’t borrow any equipment either unless it has been thoroughly cleaned first.
  • Don’t let your horse make any physical contact with or get too close to any new arrivals on the yard or any other unknown horses when you are out and about.
  • Prevent your horse from using communal water sources anywhere.
  • Always scrub and disinfect a new stable, whether at your current yard, a new yard or at a competition venue, always use clean fresh bedding and be sure to disinfect your trailer and all your kit on your return.
  • Isolate all new arrivals onto the yard, ideally for three weeks, before introducing them to resident horses and make sure any new horses are vaccinated against flu. Isolation facilities should ideally be a minimum of 25m from other horses, with no shared airspace.
  • Isolate horses immediately if they are showing any signs of sickness.
  • Discuss your biosecurity plan with your vet to be sure you have every angle covered and contact your vet immediately if you are concerned about your horse’s health.


 Anderson MN, 10 biosecurity tips from top equine health experts, The Horse. Available at Accessed 08 June 2021


American Association of Equine Practitioners. Risk-Based Vaccination Guidelines. Available at: Accessed June18, 2021:


Ivens P, Biosecurity in the equine setting, Veterinary Practice. Available at Accessed 08 June 2021









Wendy graduated from Bristol University in 1999. She then went on to complete a residency at Liverpool University and holds a European Diploma in Equine Internal Medicine. After working in practice for 13 years, she joined Zoetis in 2012 as the National Equine Veterinary Manager.

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