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Horses

Health and Biosecurity

Effective biosecurity practices include

  • checking your animals regularly and reporting anything unusual
  • introducing only healthy animals and initially isolating them from your stock
  • taking care when agisting
  • keeping fences secure

Introducing horses

There are many diseases that can be introduced to a property with the arrival of a new horse. Always:

  • consider a pre-purchase examination by a veterinarian
  • isolate new arrivals from resident animals for 2 weeks and during this time check new arrivals twice daily for signs of disease
  • treat introduced horses during the quarantine period for worms and external parasites if required and handle, 
  • feed and water them last using separate equipment

Horses being moved from Queensland are subject to entry restrictions on account of cattle tick.

Property Identification Codes

In September 2012, it became a legal requirement in NSW for any property on which a horse is kept to have a Property Identification Code (PIC). A PIC is a unique identifier for land on which livestock is kept. It assists in responding to disease outbreaks such as the Equine Influenza outbreak in 2007. You can obtain a PIC application by contacting the Camden office or online here

Movement requirements

Horses moving within NSW by vehicle must be accompanied by a completed Transported Stock Statement (TSS). 

The vehicle transporting the horse can be stopped by an authorised officer under the Rural Lands Protection Act or by a Police Officer and the TSS must be produced on request.

The following horse movements are exempt from the requirement for a TSS: 

  • horses being transported to or from any agricultural show, exhibition, gymkhana, pony club meeting or similar function
  • racehorses or harness racing horses being transported from one place to another
  • horses being transported to or from any place for use as working horses 
  • horses being transported to or from a place for veterinary treatment

TSSs are available individually or in booklets from the Greater Sydney Local Land Services office in Camden.

Going to events

Events such as shows, campdrafts and pony club, where a large number of horses from many different properties come together, have the potential to spread infectious disease. There are some simple steps that you can take to reduce the impact:

  • monitor your horse's health prior to the event and do not take any horses showing signs of illness
  • do not share feed and water containers or gear
  • avoid nose-to-nose contact with horses from other locations

Vaccinations

Prevention is often much better than treatment and there are several vaccines available for horses. In general:

  • all horses should be vaccinated against tetanus
  • other vaccines such as strangles and equine herpes virus may be recommended in certain situations
  • we recommend all horses be vaccinated against Hendra virus

Be sure to follow the instructions regarding dosage, administration and storage, and pay particular attention to the need for boosters to maintain immunity.

Hendra Virus

As of November 2014, there have been 16 confirmed cases of Hendra virus in horses in NSW and all of these have occurred on the North Coast of NSW. 

Hendra virus can spread from flying foxes to horses. On rare occasions, it has spread from infected horses to people. There have been 4 deaths in humans infected with Hendra. While there have been no cases of Hendra virus in horses in Greater Sydney, bats found in the region are known to become infected. A vaccine is available to protect your horse and in turn protect those who handle your horse. It is the best way to reduce the risk of Hendra virus infection in horses and people.

The clinical signs of Hendra virus in horses are variable, especially early in the course of the disease. They can mimic other common diseases such as colic. Affected horses often show either respiratory or neurological signs, or a combination of both and death may occur quite quickly.

If you suspect your horse has Hendra virus, you should have minimal contact with your horse until Hendra virus has been ruled out as a cause of the illness. 

Click here to download the above information as a printable brochure.

If you see something unusual, contact the 24 hour emergency animal disease hotline on 1800 675 888.