We have had an increased number of calls enquiring about the need for blood testing and health checks requested as part of entry policies into a new yard. The biggest concern for yard managers is allow entry to a horse potentially carrying infectious disease, often top of the list is Strangles.
The BHS support many schemes to help stamp out strangles in the horse population, and owners are finding it increasingly common place to be asked to have their horses blood tested for strangles prior to moving yards. This is a sensible step for yard managers to introduce, in combination with a strict entry isolation and biosecurity policy.
At first glance such policy are onerous for the person joining a new yard, resulting in additional costs. It's worth thinking about the message behind this request: we prioritise the health, welfare and safety of horses under our care. Yards with such a policy are doing so to prevent disease outbreaks, not to be exclusive or alienate clients.
Blood testing is affordable and to be clear only tests for exposure to disease up to 6 months prior to the test, not including the most recent 14days. Horses returning a positive result will be required to undergo further testing (endoscopy of the guttural pouches) to establish if this result reflects an immunity without infection, or if the horse is a carrier.
More information is available online at https://www.redwings.org.uk/strangles and we are also happy to take your call if you'd like any more information or discuss your own situation.