This Conference was organised jointly by ourselves and The British Horse Society, bringing together a number of internationally renowned experts on the subject of equine disease and biosecurity. Nearly 80 delegates braved the bad weather and were treated to excellent presentations and practical sessions.
Nicolas de Brauwere, Chairman of the National Equine Welfare Council and Senior Welfare Veterinary Surgeon at Redwings began by highlighting the biosecurity challenges of introducing new horses and changing populations and advising on the implementation of effective quarantine procedures. He drew from his experience at Redwings and gave us food for thought about the importance of controlling Strangles.
Our very own Veterinary Investigation Officer Alistair Cox of introduced the Premium Assured Strangles Scheme (PASS). His talk generated interest and questions from the delegates who were given information about how to join.
Dr Andrew Waller, Head of Bacteriology, and Dr Richard Newton, Head of Epidemiology and Disease, at the Animal Health Trust, used case studies of equine herpes virus and Strangles outbreaks to demonstrate what can be learnt about effective disease control and they warned against complacency.
Dr John Keen from Dick Vet School gave us an overview about exotic disease which really did hit home the importance of biosecurity in the equine world. Sound biosecurity practices for PASS will also protect from other diseases!
During more practical sessions in the afternoon Alistair Cox used glitter stuck to a model horse to demonstrate how easily disease can spread. (Our thanks to Mole Valley Farmers, Bridgwater for allowing us to borrow their life sized model!) Nicolas de Brauwere offered a rare opportunity for delegates to ‘have a go’ at using an endoscope and to look at chondroids and guttural pouches through a videoscope – a real ‘vets eye view’!
Delegates also had the opportunity to risk assess their yard and think about how to create a suitable biosecurity plan in a thought-provoking workshop with Mark Tabachnik from Wright and Morten Veterinary Surgeons (XLVets).
Photo caption (top): Nic de Brauwere showing delegates how to use an endoscope to pic up ‘chondroids’ from guttural pouches of Strangles carriers. Plastic trays were the next best thing!
Photo caption (right): L-R, Dr Johne Keen, Dick Vet School; Dr Richard Newton, AHT; Dr Andrew Waller, AHT; Nicolas de Brauwere, Redwings and Alistair Cox, SAC Consulting.