Good hygiene management is important to keep your horses healthy. With the right cleaning and disinfection in the horse stable, you ensure that pathogens have no chance and no foul-smelling gases such as ammonia are formed.
What you should consider when disinfecting the horse stable, you will learn in our comprehensive guide.
Why is hygiene so important in the horse stable?
In damp, dirty and dark stalls, viruses, bacteria, fungi and parasites feel right at home and multiply. Horses can ingest pathogens through food, for example, and fall ill from them. Disinfection is therefore an important aspect of health care. Good stable hygiene is important so that viruses, bacteria and the like don’t stand a chance.
Of course, in a “horse home” a little dirt and straws lying around are completely normal. However, a certain level of cleanliness and hygiene must prevail in the stable so that your four-legged friend remains healthy and feels comfortable. Regular hygiene measures help you to prevent the spread of infectious pathogens. You deprive them of the basis of life.
What can be the consequences of poor stable hygiene?
If you do not disinfect the stable properly on a regular basis, the horse is exposed to a high level of fungi, parasites, viruses and bacteria. Unhygienic stable conditions can have these consequences, among others:
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Dangerous infections
- Behavioral problems
Clean the horse barn thoroughly before disinfecting!
Before you can properly disinfect, you must first clean thoroughly.
We’ll explain the step-by-step procedure for cleaning:
First, stall out your horse and completely muck out the horse stall. Then remove dirt and dust from the surface to be cleaned. To do this, use clear water and a brush or broom. Be careful not to stir up dust. If you use a pressure washer, be careful not to create aerosols. This can spread germs in the barn.
Now scrub the surfaces thoroughly with detergent and water. Proceed from top to bottom. After scrubbing, rinse the surface. If you find dirt still adhering to some areas, you must start again. Finally, the surface must be allowed to dry sufficiently. This is important.
There are also places in the barn where fat and protein residues accumulate. These must be removed chemically. For this, you can use certain foam cleaners, for example. Foam sticks to surfaces and removes fat and protein residues very well.
You can apply the foam cleaner with a so-called “foam lance”, which is connected to a hose or Kärcher. Let the foam soak in and then rinse thoroughly with water. Then let the stall dry thoroughly. Make sure all areas to be disinfected are dry before applying the disinfectant.
NOTE: The success of the subsequent disinfection measure depends decisively on the cleaning!
What do you generally have to consider for an effective hygiene management?
Muck out at least once a day! At least once a day you should remove the fresh horse droppings and the wet bedding. Conscientious care of the bedding is important so that not too much harmful gas ammonia is produced.
This is significant with regard to respiratory diseases and thrush. Pay attention to pasture hygiene! It is also important to pay attention to hygienic pasture management. This will prevent worm infestation in horses from getting out of control. Do not carry germs from outside into the stable! To keep the horse barn clean and hygienic, it is important that people do not bring germs into the barn from outside.
Therefore, always wear clean clothes when you go into the barn. The use of foot disinfection mats can also be useful. Also clean and disinfect work equipment! Hygiene management around the yard and horse also includes regular disinfection of working equipment to prevent germs from settling here. Also clean the feeding and drinking facilities!
Of course you also have to clean and disinfect feeding troughs and drinking bowls regularly. Please always treat these only with safe preparations, so that the horses do not ingest any questionable ingredients via feed or drinking troughs.
What disinfectants are available for keeping horses?
The disinfectant you choose should have a broad spectrum of activity against as many pathogens as possible. Chemical disinfectants, in addition to thermal methods, have been the method of choice in animal husbandry for prophylactic disinfection. For example, substances such as alcohols, aldehydes, acids or alkalis are used. But also lime or milk of lime as well as caustic soda, formalin or organic acids are used to kill germs.
You can get help in choosing the right disinfectant from your veterinarian and the German Veterinary Medical Association (DVG). The latter provides a list of suitable disinfectants for use in animal husbandry.
TIP: There are modern disinfectants that are classified as biocidal products. Biocidal products include products that act directly on harmful organisms. They are intended to ensure a high level of protection for humans, animals and nature. What exactly is a biocide is regulated in the European Biocide Regulation. This includes, among other things, products that are suitable for the hygiene of horse stalls or horse trailers.
Note the following when disinfecting horse stables!
1) Always read the product information carefully before use!
If you use the agent improperly, the full effect of the disinfectant is not guaranteed. This can have a negative impact on the health of animals, humans and the environment.
2) Do not use too low a dosage!
To ensure that you actually improve hygiene through disinfection, you must also consider the dosage of the agents. Too low a dosage will impair the antibacterial and virucidal effect.
3) Do not dose too high!
You should still not dose too high. Overdosing harms the environment and can also attack the material. In addition, excessive use of disinfectants is not economical. So a lot does not necessarily help a lot.
4) Always wait until all areas in the horse stall are dry!
Do not disinfect until everything is dry. Moisture would impair the effect of the disinfectant.
Conclusion on the subject of disinfecting horse stalls
In horse stables, daily mucking out (often even several times) is standard practice. This is important to protect the health of people and animals in the long term. Daily cleaning and regular disinfection prevents viruses, bacteria, parasites and fungi from taking over and endangering the horse’s well-being.
If the majestic animals are exposed to a high load of pathogens, this has fatal consequences: The horses fall ill, get diarrhea, gastrointestinal problems or show behavioral problems. Regular cleaning and disinfection also prevents the formation of foul-smelling residues such as ammonia. The toxic gas irritates the respiratory tract and the mucous membranes of the eyes. Finally, when ammonia meets moisture, it forms a strong alkali that can damage the hoof horn and the horse’s skin.
It is best to always maintain a cool, dry stable environment and clean and disinfect horse stalls regularly. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions regarding dosage and materials carefully. This will ensure that the hygiene measures are effective and that your horse remains healthy.
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