College receives accreditation for strangles scheme

  • A Scottish college that launched a national scheme to protect horses from strangles has achieved accreditation for its own yard.

    The stable yard on the Oatridge campus of Scotland’s Rural College (SRUC) was accredited by The Premium Assured Strangles Scheme (PASS) on 2 March.

    PASS was launched by SRUC with the support of the British Horse Society in June 2013.

    To achieve a PASS accreditation, all horses in a yard are blood tested and if no traces of strangles are found they are given accreditation.

    There are now 11 yards in the scheme with another soon to be announced.

    PASS scheme members follow practical biosecurity guidelines including testing new arrivals and taking precautions to reduce exposure at shows to reduce further risk.

    The Oatridge yard is the home of the Scottish Equestrian Centre at Broxburn, West Lothian and has horses constantly visiting for competitions.

    Yard manager Shirley Melling said constant monitoring of who is coming to the yard is needed to maintain biosecurity.

    “That can be difficult being linked to the Scottish National Equestrian Centre as horses from various locations are frequently visiting,” she said.

    Students are kept well informed of all the precautions needed. “Quite often they have their own horses at home and don’t understand the need to change their clothing before entering a different yard,” said Shirley Melling.

    Alison Braddock of SRUC’s SAC Consulting, Veterinary Services who helps co-ordinate the PASS scheme said an increasing number of yards are considering “this proactive approach to a disease many in the horse world fear.”

    PASS membership costs £35 and yards are offered discounted blood tests of £20 plus VAT.

    For more information visit: www.equinehealthscheme.com

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