Biosecurity technology currently in use by a handful of racing yards is now available to competition yards across all disciplines.
Fixed and mobile systems based on the use of specialist disinfectants for stables, lorries and horses, have been created by JJ Equine, part of a company that supplies biosecurity products to the NHS.
The company has developed a mobile system based on spraying a fine mist of disinfectant over both the horse and horsebox prior to re-entering the yard.
Trainer Barry Hills has been using the high-density misting system for four years in one of the barns on his Berkshire yard.
Head lad Kev Mooney said: “The system has made a real difference. There are 41 horses in there and it’s helped cut vets’ bills and reduce the incidence of low-grade viral infections. We are now looking at extending it to all three barns.”
And Tattersalls introduced the system prior to the April sales.
“The chance for infection transfer at events is obvious, whether it is jockeys going from horse to horse, or via horses in the collecting ring,” said Dr Chris Pearson of JJ Equine.
For yards with a large number of high-value equines, the company also offers a fixed high-density misting system and a safe air system.
“The misting system sends a spray of gel disinfectant every 15 minutes — the gel becomes a gas as it is released and this circulates throughout the stable,” said Dr Pearson.
“With the safe air system, we use a filtered air system with a hydroxyl motor, which splits air vapour in the atmosphere — no chemicals are used, just the air system and a UV bulb.”
Costs start at £100 per stable for the high-density misting and £150 per stable for the safe air system, with running costs of 25p per horse per day for the misting system.
Dr Richard Newton of the Animal Health Trust said: “The herpes virus, for example, can transmit between adjacent boxes, so anything that limits the spread of airborne disease is potentially very useful.”
For more up-to-date news, see the current issue of Horse & Hound (28 April, 2011)