The importance of understanding the anatomy and physiology of the heart and lungs will go a long way in helping you ascertain if there is a medical emergency at hand.
What you might observe
Signs of a heart problem might include a loss of condition, shortness of breath, slow recovery after exercise, an increased effort to breathe, a shorter period of exercise before development of fatigue, and general weakness. Fluid accumulation in the abdomen, legs, or under the skin surrounding the ribs is another indication of poor heart function.(1)
Some condition a horse owner may see are cardiac dysrythmias,
Management of manure is a key step in controlling flies, larva and eggs, as well as minimizing odours.
The management plan will be as follows:
Stalls to be emptied of manure and bedding daily as needed and deposited into manure containment. Pastures to be cleaned of manure once a week.
Rationale: reducing the number of eggs interrupts the reproductive life cycle, and reduces population of flies
Minimal use of bedding that can absorb urine,
Rationale: bedding is slow to break down into a compostable product.
Manure will be stored and composted for use as fertilizer on the farm. Excess can be bagged and sold to the local community for profit or donated to family/community garden plots Rationale: giving back to the community is one of our pillars of success.
A vermiculture composting system will be established to ensure high quality of compost is produced.
Pest and Insect control is an important part of the horse health management.
Focus areas are: Pastures, stalls, manure pits
Rationale: Flies, larvae and eggs are found in manure that remains in pastures, stalls and manure pits. Removal of manure and proper disposal will reduce the load available for the horse to digest and thus reduce the overall load in the horse(s).
Procedure: All stalls to be cleaned a min of once per day depending on how much time is spent in stall.
Use shavings in stalls to soak up liquids,
Ensure to sweep all debris from hay and grain and dispose of in garbage bin sealed from rodents
Remove all manure from small paddocks twice a week(1)
Dispose of manure in manure pits with concrete pad. Disposing of manure in a field contributes to the problem, as rain soaks ground, runoff is created, manure now becomes breeding ground for flies and larvae) (2)
(1) Zimmel, D. (2009). Ch. 5: Equine wellness program. In D. Reeder et al. (Eds.), AAEVT’S Equine manual for veterinary technicians (summary of parasite control measures p142)
This S.O.P covers the actions and protocols to follow in the event of fire in the barn or indoor arena. It is of critical importance to Establish, educate and practice fire evacuation protocols.
Rationale: Established evacuation routes, predetermined protocols for actions, and an awareness meeting and regular drills for all staff will ensure the policies can be enacted calmly and effectively if needed.
More detailed plan:
Establish evacuation routes for all locations within all structures and assign a meeting place for all staff and horses to gather where a head count will be done.
Ensure all staff are aware of this policy and hold Fire drills regularly to keep staff refreshed on policy. Coordinate with local Fire Marshall for fire extinguisher training on semi-annual basis to ensure any new staff have received the training
Post clear instructions on Evacuation Routes and ensure fire extinguishers and firefighting equipment are accessible and their location is clearly identified.
This S.O.P explains and outlines the risks of fire and safety hazards in the equine farm environment
Rationale: Identification of fire risks and location of fire hazards and places/things required for fire protection are needed so that maintenance protocols can be established to reduce risk and increase safety.
More detailed plan:
Fire safety standards for the barn and grounds surrounding areas that could become hazard points. ie: keep dust down, sweep and dispose of dirt/debris outside of the barn in a sealed weatherproof container. Dust light fixtures and keep cobwebs from building up around lights and electrical outlets.
Identify locations of smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and electrical panel. No Smoking signs are clearly visible within barn and other structures.
Clearly marked emergency exits with lights, that are always kept clear of debris that could impede emergency egress for horse and human.
Develop maintenance schedule for fire extinguishers and smoke detectors IAW Fire Regulations/ recommendations.
Action Point: Establish standard operating procedures for isolation and hospital stable.
Rationale. Establishing new standard’s for Isolation and Hospital Stable Wing. IAW Canada Code and Biosecurity Code. This will reduce the incidence of disease transmission thereby increasing the overall wellness and health state for the barn and farm operations
The new policy will incorporate recommendations from:
Canada Code section 4.2 Sick, Injured or Compromised Horses and Biosecurity code, section 4: Principles of Infection, Prevention and Control Programs
Biosecurity code: Section 4: Principles of Infection, Prevention and control programs
section 4.1 Sources of Pathogens
Section 4.2 Methods of Transmission
Section 4.3: General Concepts of Infection and Control
For any horse that is suspected of carrying a communicable disease, they will be transferred to the Isolation/Hospital barn.
They will be assessed and monitored and Veterinary Staff notified.
Health Record will be available for review as required.
The horse will remain in Isolation until the risk of transmission has been reduced to not pose threat to the herd.
This page outlines the Standing Operating Procedures. Standing Operating Procedures are an important tool for the staff at any barn, as they provide guidance on what to do and actions to carry out from Emergency Procedures to Pest and Parasite control.
You will notice that the SOP’s are clearly identified so that when needed the reference can be found quickly. These SOP’s will also be available in hard copy and posted for quick access to all staff.
This is a work in progress and will never truly be finished, as when our knowledge and experience grows so should our S.O.Ps
This is also promulgated with the help of all the staff. If you see something that could be done, better, more efficiently, speak UP!!