Horse Health

Are Your Horses Ready for You to be Quarantined?

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The current (human) coronavirus situation has me making sure I have everything I need to care for my horses in case I can’t leave home for two weeks or longer. Are you prepared?

Photo by Terry Fitch of Wild Horse Freedom Federation

We at The Horse are used to disease outbreaks of the equine variety. We post content continuously about preventing disease spread and how to effectively quarantine sick horses. We have a plan for that. But what about outbreaks of the human variety? I personally hadn’t considered an instance where I could be the quarantined one.

As news about the novel coronavirus affecting humans (SARS-CoV-2, which causes the disease now known as COVID-19) started to circulate, it caught my attention. I’ve sat through enough equine epidemiology lectures to know that respiratory diseases spread rapidly and exponentially. My sister, who works as a nurse in public schools, kept me up to date on information she had before the media picked it up and encouraged me to prepare for the worst-case scenario. With my busy work and personal schedules, I didn’t have time to panic about a potential pandemic, but I did text my hay guy to come replenish my inventory, which was running low. With two more tons in the barn, I went about my life.

Then Northern Italy went on lockdown and my husband noted we were almost out of coffee. I considered what a caffeine-free 14-day quarantine would mean and decided we should probably do some prepping. Off to Costco we went (and, yes, our Costco was out of toilet paper, too). Now, as the situation worsens, I’m asking myself: What essentials do my horses need in case my husband and I get quarantined or sick?

  • Ann, my off-track Thoroughbred, is in the middle of treatment for Grade 3 ulcers. She’s still showing (albeit less severe) clinical signs as she nears the end of a 28-day GastroGard (omeprazole) course. I’m pretty sure we will need to extend her treatment, so I stocked up on more just in case.
  • While I have plenty of orchardgrass hay, I’m short on Ann’s alfalfa, which she also needs to keep her tummy happy. Two additional bales should get me through.
  • I’m nearing the end of my last ration balancer bag. One bag lasts my horses 14 days, but I might as well get one or two extra.
  • My horses (all barefoot) are due for trims soon. Fortunately, I’ve been learning to trim and have new nippers and a rasp. If my farrier can’t make it, I’m comfortable doing light maintenance trims.
  • Marathon, my retired gelding, gets tender-footed at times, especially during wet spring weather. I checked to make sure his hoof boots are in working order, and they are good to go if he needs them.
  • Both of my mares are on altrenogest to manage their heat cycles. I have plenty to last through the spring, but I’m low on the protective nitrile gloves I need to administer it to them safely. Add a box to the shopping list.
  • While stall bedding isn’t crucial (I have a cushion mat system and runs built off my stalls, and only two of my four horses come in at night), I should use enough to at least add a little extra cushion. For two weeks, I need six bags.
  • If I can’t get to the vet (or my vet can’t get to me), I have a fully stocked emergency kit, which includes essential prescription medications—oral flunixin meglumine (Banamine), phenylbutazone (Bute), and firocoxib (Equioxx)—that I can use at my veterinarian’s direction. I also have full boxes of bandaging materials and poultice pads.
  • The likelihood of me becoming sick and hospitalized is extremely low, but I need to update and post my feed chart in the off chance someone else needs to feed.
  • Water shouldn’t be an issue during this outbreak, but for other types of emergencies it’s important to have an alternative source of clean water for your horses. In case I do get sick and am not up to the extra physical exertion of filling troughs later, I’m keeping them topped off now.

Well, that’s what’s on my list. Those of you who board your horses or run large barns might have other needs if a human quarantine occurs. What are you doing to prepare to keep your horses happy and healthy during this pandemic? Leave your comments below!

7 replies »

    • Being that our horses live with us, Terry just laid in another 50 bales of hay. We actually ‘self-quarantine’ on our property without even realizing it. Might not leave for days, rather self-sustaining.

      Liked by 2 people

  1. I stocked up yesterday, then wrote up all the information anyone would need if I can’t get out to feed my own (self-care and special needs) horses. It’s not a huge task but the horses would suffer if nobody knew what to do, including the prospect of someone perhaps feeding sweet feed to my laminitic mare. Anyone not in a formal boarding stable situation might consider the same, just post the information, stock up on supplies, and include the names of people to call with questions, including at least two veterinarians.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Having been in the boarding stable situation – all the same things matter – even remembering how great the care was at the place where I boarded. Same goes for our smaller animals in this situation. All very good advice. Hope you & yours are all safe through this mess. I’m also “self-quarantining” at home with my dog & cat – limiting any venturing out. Scary times.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for keeping us informed! I feel certain that so many people are alarmed & stressed about this virus. I agree with everyone’s comments here. I know that every horse lover/owner would crawl (if need be) to make sure that the precious ones would be taken care of. Back-up plan is great advice! 🐴❤🐴

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am also one that lives in isolation and when I get ill I just have no other choice than to drag myself down the yard to do the animals.
    I can easily go 2 weeks at a time with not leaving my place and mail comes to town 5 km from me but shopping is a 90km round trip on rough roads. I do a bigger shop to cover me and the animals normally when I go in.
    The Dr is via the Royal Flying Doctor Service once per fortnight as well, but no vets for over 350 km each way.
    So thanks for this important info and reminder, to have all in place for our beloved equine and other fur feather family members.
    I just can’t get too sick or die just yet…I’ve let God know this too…LOL


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