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USDA releases fourth report from 'Equine 2015' study

Latest NAHMS report examines results of biosecurity assessments on equine operations.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Animal Health Monitoring System (NAHMS) has released the fourth report from its "Equine 2015" study, "Biosecurity Assessment of U.S. Equine Operations, 2015."

The "Equine 2015" study was conducted in 28 states and was designed to provide participants, the industry and animal health officials with information on the nation’s equine population, NAHMS said.

From May 1 to Oct. 15, 2016, USDA veterinary medical officers and/or animal health technicians administered a questionnaire as part of the second phase of the equine study. Operations that participated in phase II were offered a free biosecurity assessment of their facilities, performed by one of these USDA officers or technicians. The new report is based on those assessments.

NAHMS said the biosecurity assessment identified the operations’ potential risk of introducing or spreading disease agents by viewing the following: (1) storage of feed and water sources, (2) cleanliness/maintenance of the equine areas, (3) the presence of equine health records and written biosecurity protocols and (4) infection control related to new arrivals or contagious disease cases.

NAHMS provided the following highlights from the report:

* Overall, 69.8% of operations had clean stalls, and only 9.2% had stalls assessed as not clean. The remaining operations did not have stalls.

* Overall, 64.8% of operations had an area where newly arriving equids or equids with a contagious disease could be housed and kept separate from healthy resident equids.

* Of those operations that had a separate contagious disease area for new arrivals, 61.3% isolated these animals in a secluded barn, pen or run to ensure no possible direct contact with resident equids.

* For the 95.8% of operations with pasture for equids, 85.7% had well or moderately well-maintained pastures.

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