Stud Farm Disease Management

Pathogenic fungi and bacteria, when present in large numbers, can greatly affect the respiratory system of a horse and therefore performance. An example of this is the fungus Aspergillus. Aspergillus, which can be present in any harvested food or bedding product and in damp storage areas and boxes, is one of the main causes of RAO (Recurrent Airway Obstruction), EIPH (bleeding) and immune suppression, all of which can greatly affect the performance of the racehorse. Yards which are contaminated with a pathogen of this kind will suffer from the direct respiratory effect, but will also suffer from recurring bouts of secondary bacterial and viral infections due to the immune suppression. Until the pathogen is found and removed, achieving consistency of performance is very difficult.

 

Pathogenic fungi and bacteria, when present in large numbers, can greatly affect the respiratory system of a horse and therefore performance. An example of this is the fungus Aspergillus. Aspergillus, which can be present in any harvested food or bedding product and in damp storage areas and boxes, is one of the main causes of RAO (Recurrent Airway Obstruction), EIPH (bleeding) and immune suppression, all of which can greatly affect the performance of the racehorse. Yards which are contaminated with a pathogen of this kind will suffer from the direct respiratory effect, but will also suffer from recurring bouts of secondary bacterial and viral infections due to the immune suppression. Until the pathogen is found and removed, achieving consistency of performance is very difficult.

 

The service is not expensive and, when used properly, has a very positive cost/benefit outcome due to the fact that problems are prevented before they begin. The testing service includes a full review of the overall yard operations during the first visit which will recommend any requisite changes. Ongoing testing is then advised on a regular basis to ensure the environment remains pathogen-free.

 

The Environmental Testing service is readily available in Ireland, the UK and France. This service is also available to other countries such as the UAE upon request. We recommend yards are tested at the start of each season, twice mid-season and two weeks before the big festivals (such as Cheltenham or Royal Ascot) to ensure horses race with the best possible chance.

 

Stabling environmental tests available in the department:

 

  • Air quality testing (fungal and bacterial)
  • Stable surface hygiene testing (fungal and bacterial)
  • Feed house and feeding equipment hygiene.
  • Assessment of forage storage.
  • Assessment of hygiene of walker and lunge ring surfaces
  • Assessment of hygiene of all-weather paddocks
  • Ventilation assessments
  • Ventilation smoke test
  • Ammonia levels in stabling
  • R. equi screening by PCR
  • Bedding hygiene testing (fungal enumeration)
  • Water hygiene testing
  • Gallop particle count/dust assessment
  • Racecourse stabling hygiene testing