There is significant potential for transmission of infectious disease during transport. Cleanliness and hygiene on board all forms of transport is the responsibility of the vehicle owner in private transport and the vehicle operator in contracted transport. The following notes are for guidance in either case.
Vehicles should be cleaned and disinfected frequently and regularly, using approved disinfectants capable of killing bacteria and viruses. A list of these is provided on the Defra website (select only ‘General’ for suitable products).
Vehicles should be cleaned before horses are loaded.
Prior vaccination of horses may reduce the risk of disease transmission during transport. Ideally, these should be booster vaccinations but, if horses have not been vaccinated previously, then sufficient time should be allowed before transport for both primary and secondary vaccinations to produce adequate immunity.
When mixed loads (eg breeding and competition horses; pregnant and non-pregnant mares) are unavoidable, give careful consideration to the categories of horses which are transported together so as to minimise the disease risk (eg risk to pregnant mares of EHV-1 infection; risk of spread of EVA infection).
Horses should only travel if they are considered fit to do so by a veterinary surgeon.
Sick animals should not be transported except when they are travelling to obtain veterinary treatment. If transport of such horses is unavoidable, they must not be put in mixed loads without the consent of other owners (or those authorised to act on their behalf) of horses in that load. Veterinary advice should be taken.
If horses or their in-contacts are ill on, or shortly after, arrival at their destination, veterinary advice should be taken and the sick horses isolated if necessary. The transport operator should be informed at once and should then inform other clients with animals in the same load.
Facilities should, if necessary, be made available for cleaning/mucking out of lorries at premises where loading/unloading stops are made.