Appendix 6

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Guidance on isolation

The Codes of Practice often refer to the isolation of horses. In its strictest sense,‘isolation’ means a separate facility with separate staff, separate protective clothing, separate utensils/equipment and thorough steam cleaning and disinfection of stables between each occupant. The following guidelines, at least, should be adhered to:

Premises

1. The isolation facility should be a separate, enclosed building of sound, permanent construction, capable of being cleansed and disinfected effectively.

2. It must not be possible for other horses to approach within 100 metres of the isolation facility while it is in use.

3. An adequate supply of fresh, clean water must be available at all times for the isolated horses and for cleaning purposes.

4. Adequate supplies of food and bedding material for the whole of the isolation period must be made available and stored within the isolation facility before isolation commences.

5. Equipment and utensils used for feeding, grooming and cleansing must be used only in the isolation facility.

6. Protective clothing must be available at the entrance to the isolation facility and not be taken outside of this facility.

7. A separate muck heap should be used within the isolation facility.

Procedures

1. Before use, all fixed and moveable equipment and utensils for feeding, grooming and cleansing within the isolation facility must be disinfected using an approved disinfectant. A list of these is provided on the Defra  website (select only ‘General’ for suitable products)..

2. Attendants of the isolated horses must have no contact with any other horses during the isolation period.

3. The isolation period for all isolated horses shall be deemed to start from the time of entry of the last horse.

4. No person may enter the isolation facility unless specifically authorised to do so.

5. When no attendants are on duty, the facility must be locked securely to prevent the entry of unauthorised persons. If such strict measures are not possible in practice, the owner/manager of the premises where isolation is needed should devise their own isolation programme and procedures in conjunction with the attending veterinary surgeon. These should include, for example:

  • The designation of a yard and associated paddock as an isolation area in a geographically separate area of the premises.
  • The designation of individual staff to work in the isolation facility with separate protective clothing and approved disinfectants as and when required. These individuals should either not be involved with work on the rest of the premises during periods of isolation, or they should complete their work on the rest of the premises before entering the isolation area. They should not return to other areas of the premises thereafter.
  • The establishment of ‘standard procedures’, the precise details of which should be agreed with the attending veterinary surgeon as they might vary according to individual circumstances.