An investigation of the movement patterns and biosecurity practices on Thoroughbred and Standardbred stud farms in New Zealand

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Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)178-187
Journal / PublicationPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Volume108
Issue number2-3
Online published30 Aug 2012
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes

Abstract

Utilising a face-to-face interview of stud managers, a survey was conducted to investigate the movement patterns around, and biosecurity practices on, Thoroughbred and Standardbred stud farms. Eligible stud farms (n=60) were identified from the 2009 Thoroughbred stallion register and 2009 Standardbred stallion register, and stud managers were asked to participate in the interview. In total, 27 stud managers agreed to participate in the study, and participating stud farms included 38% of Thoroughbred and 60% of Standardbred mares bred in 2009. All stud managers reported the movement of horses to and from their stud farm. The median number of movement events per year was 127 (interquartile range 83-300). The frequency of movement events from a stud farm was not associated with the breed of horse managed on the stud farm, however Thoroughbred horses travelled further than Standardbred horses during these movement events (p<0.001). The movement patterns of horses around stud farms showed a strong seasonality associated with the commercial breeding season of each breed. While 26 (96%) of stud managers reported having procedures in place for checking newly arriving horses, only 6 (22%) stud managers reported isolating horses on arrival as a standard protocol. The main reason for isolating horses on properties, where isolation was not a standard procedure, was in response to strangles outbreaks on other stud farms (n=10). Only 2 (7%) stud managers reported implementing visitor protocols, and these protocols only applied to visiting veterinarians, but not to farriers. These findings have important implications for the control of both endemic and exotic infectious disease outbreaks within the New Zealand breeding population as the high frequency of movement around stud farms, the high number of visitors to stud farms and the lack of effective biosecurity practices or visitor protocols will be critical factors in the spread of equine influenza during an outbreak.

Research Area(s)

  • Biosecurity, Equine, Equine influenza virus, Movement, Visitor protocols

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