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Simple steps to improve hygiene can significantly reduce the spread of equine herpes. The disease led the International Equestrian Federation (FEI) to cancel the show jumping and dressage world cup finals in Gothenburg, Sweden, to prevent it spreading further.

To protect horses from diseases, including equine herpes, owners should look to increase levels of hygiene in stables, advises BASF rural hygiene specialist, Helen Ainsworth.

“Sorgene® Xtra is a Defra approved, broad spectrum environmental disinfectant which contains a stabilised blend of peracetic acid and hydrogen peroxide. It is totally effective against viruses, bacteria and hard to kill fungal spores. More frequent and thorough use of disinfectants can help to reduce the risk of diseases like equine herpes spreading,” she says.

Disinfectants can reduce the spread of diseases dramatically if used carefully and consistently. “A focus on hygiene is one of the simplest and most economical ways to reduce the spread of disease and promote healthy conditions in stables and vehicles. Sorgene Xtra can be used at 1:250 for general hygiene, and at 1:100 for specific disease control such as foot dips and vehicle spraying,” she explains.

To make the most of disinfectant and reduce the spread of diseases, Helen suggests:

  • Thoroughly disinfect all accommodation. This is best achieved by pressure washing the sides and floors of stables with a quality detergent before spraying with a disinfectant.
  • Bacteria, viruses, and other micro-organisms are often present on clothing and boots. Those working with horses should be sure to wear clean overalls and dip boots in disinfectant to reduce the risk of introducing harmful diseases. Before entering stables, it is also good practice to wash hands with a bactericidal soap.
  • Any equipment that is being used in conjunction with horses should be disinfected in a solution of Sorgene Xtra before being used. Solutions should be changed frequently.

“We have the tools to reduce the spread of viruses to an absolute minimum. Owners can protect themselves, their friends, family and horses by simply keeping their stables and equipment clean and using a disinfectant properly,” concludes Helen.