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NB/PEI Barrel Horse Association

Bio-Security is everyone's responsibility

With the threat of diseases such as Strangles and Ticks that carry Lyme disease, now more than ever we all need to be aware of the dangers that these illnesses can cause not only to our horses that attend shows, but to the other horses in our barns at home. It is everyone's responsibility to make sure that we are keeping our four legged friends safe from unnecessary harm.  The first steps start at home.  The directors have met and decided that they do not want to cancel shows like we did last year due to the threat of outbreaks such as strangles. Below you will find some of the actions being put forth by the facilities we host our events at, as well as some recommendations of what you can do at home. We (the directors) encourage everyone to make use of these tools and feel free to contact your local veterinarian with any questions you may have.

What can you do to help stop the spread of disease?

In an effort to be pro-active, we (the directors) met with a the Chief Veterinary Officer for New Brunswick at a seminar held in Sussex, NB in Spring of 2019. Based on this seminar, the NPBHA board of directors has the following recommendations for it's members:

  • We are encouraging all of our members to get their animals vaccinated this year.  We are not enforcing it as a rule in order to show with the club (nor do you have to provide proof of vaccinations), but we do strongly recommend that you vaccinate not only the animals that you show, but also the ones that stay at home.  Horses who are vaccinated can still bring home diseases that will get un-vaccinated horses sick. Please remember that Vaccines do not prevent disease. Some of the vaccines recommended by veterinarians are:
    • Tetnus
    • Rabies
    • Rhino
    • Flu
    • Strangles (remember that if your horse has never had the Strangles vaccine that it will need a booster shot 3 weeks after the initial vaccination)
    • West Nile
    • EEE
    • WEE
    • It is also recommended that you have a recent Coggins test done on your horse (especially if they have recently been brought in from out west as animals in Alberta have recently tested positive).
  • Getting vaccines done now will ensure that your horse has built up an adequate immunity before show season.
  • There are a couple of different websites you can use to find out if there are diseases in an area that you should be aware of.  Most reportings are voluntary but could help you decide what you need to vaccinate for.  If bringing in a horse from a different area, it is good to have an idea of things they may have been exposed to:
  • Set up a quarantine area in your facility where there is complete separation from contact between an isolated animal and the rest of the animals on the premise whenever a horse returns to the property (if possible). Quarantine areas greatly help reduce the spread of diseases.
    • Animals that are "new arrivals" to a premise should be isolated for 3-4 weeks.  The new arrival should be checked daily for signs of illness.  Separate stables, pastures, buckets, grooming supplies, tack, etc should be marked and used only on the new arrival. The new arrival should be handled last and the handler's hands should be washed after contact with the new animal.
    • Animals who have left and come back to their home premise should also be isolated and monitored for illness.  Their isolation time is much shorter at 2 weeks.
  • At shows, don't encourage nose-to-nose contact between animals.
  • We recommend not letting people touch your horse unless you have ensured they have washed or disinfected their hands first.
  • Try not to share things such as water tubs, brushes, bits, tack, etc unless you have disinfected them first.
  • Know your horse.  Monitor their health, nutrition and keep good health records on your horse.  Know your horse's behavior and "quirks" so that if something feels off, you can contact your veterinarian right away.
  • The Chief Veterinary Officer for NB (Nicole Wanamaker) is encouraging everyone to purchase a product called VIRKON to have on hand.  It is a disinfectant that will help kill diseases such as Strangles, Flu, Rhino and Ringworm. It comes in a tablet that you add to a given amount of water to in a spray bottle.  When working properly, the product will be pink.  If the liquid has changed to clear, then it is no longer effective.  Once mixed, the product is good for 1-2 weeks.
  • If your horse is displaying signs of illness, please LEAVE IT HOME!

Princess Louise Park (PLP) in Sussex, NB

The staff at the Princess Louise Park (PLP) show grounds in Sussex, NB would like everyone to be aware of the Bio-Security Measures they will be putting into place effective as of the 2019 season. This process has been developed with help from the Chief Veterinary Officer of NB, as well as some user groups. They will have a 2-step Bio Security protocol which includes the following:

Level 1:

  • Step 1- They will clean all stalls to remove as much organic matter as possible.
  • Step 2- They will ensure their rodent control program is up to date
  • Step 3- They will remove all garbage and manure from the facilities between events
  • Step 4- Before the next event, they will spray all stalls that were occupied the previous week with VIRKON
  • Step 4- All common areas of the barns (stall fronts and alleyways) will be sprayed with VIRKON

Level 2:

In the unfortunate situation of an animal becoming ill after attending an event at the show center, the following protocol will be added:

  • All surfaces in the facility used the weekend the ill animal attended will be sprayed down using a detergent such as Biosolve Plus
  • All surfaces will then be rinsed of the cleaner
  • All surfaces will then be sprayed with VIRKON

The PLP staff would also like us to be proactive as users of the facility by implementing the following suggestions that have been made:

  • Have someone from the organizing committee of the event visually check all animals before they get off the trailer for any obvious signs of illness.
  • Encourage all participants to spray down the inside of their stalls with their own mixtures of VIRKON.
  • Be respectful of fellow exhibitors: If your animal is ill please don't come (even if you have been looking forward to the event all year long).
  • Develop your own personal protocol for at home and traveling to events. Don't depend on everyone else to protect you and your animal.



If you have any questions or concerns about the above information, please contact your local veterinarian or email the directors at