Biosecurity in the Breeding Shed

Biosecurity isn’t just a consideration for show horses. Here are some tips on how to keep breeding stock disease-free.
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Biosecurity in the Breeding Shed
Sources of disease spread at breeding farms include horses (both resident and trailer-ins, as well as tease mares), humans (grooms, employees, visitors), semen, and wildlife. | Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt/The Horse
Biosecurity has become a buzzword in the equine industry in recent years in the wake of various high-profile disease outbreaks. It’s significance—to keep the country disease-free and to prevent major economic losses–can’t be understated.

And while we often think of biosecurity practices in relation to traveling competition horses and busy equine clinics, we can’t overlook the importance of good biosecurity on breeding farms. A contagious equine metritis (CEM) outbreak in 2008, for instance, affected 23 stallions and cost the industry nearly $2 million.

David Scofield, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACT, of Select Breeders Services, in Chesapeake City, Maryland, is one reproduction veterinarian who feels very strongly about biosecurity in the breeding shed. He faces daily disease risks at their breeding facility, not just from incoming and outgoing stallions and mares, but also from the farm’s proximity to other breeding farms. Scofield shared his smart practices for breeding shed biosecurity at the 2016 Theriogenology Conference, held July 27-30 in Asheville, North Carolina.

Sources of disease spread at breeding farms, said Scofield, include horses (both resident and trailer-ins, as well as tease mares), humans (grooms, employees, visitors), semen, and wildlife. But the biggest concern? Humans

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Written by:

Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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