On behalf of the Sonoma County Horse Council, we hope you and your animals are safe, or at least in a safe haven for now. We offer our condolences, sympathy, and support to all of you who may have lost your home, personal belongings, and/or animals during these deadly and ravenous fires. We will have a long road ahead, but we are so very encouraged by the incredible outpouring of love and kindness that was shown and continues each day.

With that, it is appropriate that the contents of the winter issue of the Horse Journal be stories from our equine community. Stories of survival, rescue and recovery. Stories of coming together at a time when it was needed most. Stories of future plans to rebuild and come back better than before.

Sonoma County Farm Bureau Wildfire Information for Rural Areas

Sonoma County Farm Bureau
Wildfire Information for Rural Areas

Sonoma County Farm Bureau would like to express our sincerest thoughts to those who have been affected by the fires in Northern California. The extensive damage has been devastating to both our rural and urban neighbors, but we believe we will come out of this disaster stronger as a community.

Equine Health Program Updates - CDFA

Equines Entering California through Border Stations

Border station personnel are required to document all horses crossing into California. This includes California horses returning to California. Thus, all horse trailers are required to stop at the border station crossings to provide destination information and required entry documentation. To facilitate prompt, efficient transition through the station, an Equine Only – California Entry Document has been developed. This document can be completed in advance and provided to the border personnel for verification.

Biosecurity Guidelines for a Boarding Facility

Ted S Stashak DVM, MS, DACVS and John W Kaufman DVM 


Biosecurity for a boarding facility involves adopting procedures to prevent the introduction and spread of a disease in horses. A normal appearing horse can be carrying a virus or shed an infectious agent which can be passed from horse to horse when biosecurity practices are not used. This document presents biosecurity measures that should be used in any facility where there is a concentrated, transient horse population. Following these principles will minimize the risks and keep horses healthy for optimal performance and prevent a life threatening outbreak which can result in the closure of the facility.

ANYTHING that touches an infected horse or carries secretions or manure from sick horses has the potential to transfer pathogens to other horses.

Disease causing organisms can be spread by equipment, people, vehicles, insects, birds, vermin, feed, waste, water, and air.

General Biosecurity Guidelines

New Horse Arrivals

  • Since new horses can bring new diseases to your barn, the best scenario is that the horse was examined by a veterinarian, and deemed free of disease, prior to transportation to your facility. In the event this has not happened, then the horse should be examined by your veterinarian before it is housed at your facility.  If the horse is arriving from out of state it should have a health certificate.
  • Obtain a recent history (e.g., health, vaccinations, worming etc.) and determine previous location(s) during the past thirty days.
  • Horses that are not deemed free of disease should either be denied access to your facility or be housed in an isolation/quarantine area.
  • A period of quarantine or isolation (~2 weeks) before placing the new arrival close to your other horses is ideal.
  • Consult your veterinarian regarding the best place/site and time frame to isolate the horse(s)


Visitor Access to Horses

  • Restrict and/or monitor visitors to prevent contact with horses. Visitors can inadvertently spread disease if specific sanitation procedures are not followed. One visitor can easily spread infectious agents to many animals. It is recommended to keep visitors out of the stable, shed rows and stalls if they don’t need to be there.
  • Hand washing or the use of hand sanitizers is encouraged before visitors allowed access to the barn.
  • Maintain a record of visitors to the barn to improve the ability to respond in case there is an outbreak and spread of disease.


Horse Equipment and Tack

  • Don't share any horse equipment with neighbors or other horse people.
  • Thoroughly clean your equipment if it has been used by other horses/people. Use detergent and disinfectant before use on your horse. This includes tack, bits, rugs, saddlecloths, feed and water bins. Request others providing horse services to use clean/sanitized equipment on your horses.


Personal Biosecurity

  • Some diseases can be easily carried on people's clothing, hats, hands, shoes, and hair.
  • Change into clean clothes and footwear; wash your hands with soap and water (or use a hand sanitizer); and blow your nose before coming into contact with other animals offsite. Sometimes it may be necessary to have a shower, wash your hair and put on clean clothes.


Trailers and Trucks

  • Clean and decontaminate with disinfectant according to protocol for the interior of the trailer or vans in between usage. See cleaning and disinfectants below.


Disposal of Manure, Soiled Bedding and Hay

  • Infectious organisms may remain viable in horse manure for a prolonged period.
  • Avoid leaving manure and bedding piles in areas where there is vehicle and foot traffic, horse  stabling areas, pastures and where there is standing surface water.
  • Use a designated wheelbarrow for a single barn or a single barn aisle.
  • Never use a manure wheelbarrow to move feed or clean bedding.
  • Frequent manure removal aids in eliminating parasites and insect breeding sites.
  • Ensure that fresh manure is not spread on horse pastures.
  • Thorough cleaning to remove organic material and disinfecting of stables and stabling areas reduce the level of pathogens. See cleaning and disinfectants below.


Cleaning and Disinfectants

  • Following are Steps for cleaning and disinfection.
  1.  Remove organic matter
  2.  Wash with soap and rinse with water
  3. Allow time to dry
  4. Apply the disinfectant
  • Proper cleaning requires removal of all soil, organic material, snot/mucus with a detergent so the disinfectant can be effective. Rinsing, should be done using a hose without a nozzle. High pressure delivery of water can result in dissemination of dirt and organisms. Use a foaming soap agent and a stiff-bristle brush to scrub all surfaces and items (e.g. buckets etc.), then rinse.
  • Disinfection can then be achieved with the use of household products such as common household chlorine bleach (1:10 dilution of bleach to water), alcohol and hypochlorite. Check concentration and exposure times on the label.
  • In most stall situations organic matter cannot be completely removed effectively from the stall floor, or walls. In this situation use a disinfectant that are effective in an organic environment. Examples include phenolics (1 Stoke Environ® or SynPhenol-3®) or an accelerated hydrogen peroxide product (Virkon®).  All products should be used in accordance with manufacturer’s recommendations and label instructions. Cleaning and disinfecting a stall is ideally done within four (4) hours of a horse vacating the stall.  Wear protective clothing, disposable boot covers and gloves if the horse was sick.
  • Contact your veterinarian if you have questions.


Water Source and Disposal

  • Avoid communal water troughs or water from a shared water source (e.g., pond) which has a higher risk of potential disease transmission.
  • New arrivals should have their own water bucket/trough
  • Avoid using a water hose; the potential to spread disease if inserted into multiple buckets or left lying on the ground between uses is increased.
  • Natural water sources, such as streams or ponds, also pose a significant disease risk due to an inability to control water quality or prevent contamination with disease agents.
  • Water remaining in partially filled buckets should be emptied directly into a drain or onto manure piles to eliminate disease transmission risk.


Illness Surveillance and Reporting

  • Report horses that appear ill or have a high temperature (>101.2 0 F) to the appropriate person at your barn. Contact your veterinarian as soon as possible. The veterinarian can determine if the horse is in need of quarantine or a visit to the hospital and whether the illness should be reported to the Official Veterinarian or other authorities.


*The majority of this information was extracted from the following references:

1) Madigan J, Arthur R,  Madigan S: Basic Equine Facility Biosecurity For Horse Owners and Horse Professionals, Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital University of California, Davis, 2011, 1-19

2) Flynn K, Wilson EM, Traub-Dargatz J, Madigan J: Biosecurity toolkit for equine events. CDFA EMMP, 2012, 1-25

** For a more complete discussion of this topic the reader is referred to: cdfa equine biosecurity; select biosecurity for equine events; scroll down to: Part 1 – Basic Biosecurity and open. 

*** Thanks to Dr Claudia Sonder DVM, Director, Center for Equine Health, School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California Davis for providing the various appendices published in the CDFA Toolkit for Biosecurity.

The Effects of Artificial Fluoridation of Water (AFW) on Horses

Ted S Stashak DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS

  • Some concern has recently been voiced by horse owners regarding the fact that the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors is considering adding fluoride (F) to our water supply, and the effect this may have on horses in the county. To become better informed about the possible negative effects of AFW on horses, a literature search over the past 30 years was done. Additionally an internal medicine specialist and toxicologist at UCD, and a pathologist specializing in bone pathology at Colorado State University were consulted. The following is a summary of the findings from these sources.
  • Summary: In 1974 the US National Academy of Sciences established a dry weight dietary fluoride tolerance of 60 ppm F for horses. Since then two reports (2006 and 2008) identifying chronic fluorosis in a separate groups of horses, in Pagosa Springs CO and Hitchcock TX, drinking AFW at a concentration <1.3 ppm F, have been published. Both articles describe a long period of exposure to AFW, without contamination from other F sources, and classical signs and laboratory evidence of F toxicity. No soil or water testing or assays for other F sources was reported in either study. Peer-reviewed literature in scientific journals, to date, showed no published reports documenting fluorosis in horses due to ingestion of fluoridated public water alone.
  • Discussion: The 2006 and 2008 reports were published in a non-peer reviewed journal and are missing important information necessary to confirm that AFW alone was the cause for the signs of chronic fluorosis in these horses. Fluoride being one of the most common elements in the environment is found in soil, rock, water, air and plants. No soil, water or feed testing was reported in these articles. While the horse’s symptoms improved following discontinuation of drinking the AFW; the authors did not rule out the exposure to other sources of F (e.g. use of fluoride-containing pesticides, fluoride-containing rodenticides, insecticides, and other chemicals etc.), which when added to the ppm in the AFW could have resulted in toxic levels 
  •  Conclusions: Evidence to date indicates that F concentrations allowable in US public water systems are well tolerated by horses and do not cause fluorosis. Supporting this, is a fact that many horses nationwide drink AFW as their major source of water and fluorosis is avery rarely reported condition. For more information fluorosis in horses the reader is referred to the following

Disaster Preparedness~Recommended First Aid Kit

Disaster Preparedness:
Items recommended for a wound care first aid kit and sources.

Ted Stashak DVM, MS, Diplomate ACVS, Emeritus Professor Surgery

  1. 1)  Wound preparation and cleansing

    1. Non-sterile (clean) 4”x4” gauze sponges – Drug store.

      1. Moisten with water and place in the wound to protect it prior to clipping the hair. Can be used to clean debris from the wound.

      2. Place 20 in a plastic sandwich bag to keep them clean.

    2. Scissors – Mayo to clip hair from wound edges – Feed or Drug or Hardware stores

    3. Vetricyn VM Plus S olution – wound irrigation (cleansing) and antimicrobial effect – your veterinarian

  2. 2)  Topical antibiotics and antimicrobials

    1. Triple antibiotic (Neospori) - drug or feed store

    2. Silver Sulfadiazine (Silvaden). Veterinarian. Use for superficial + deep burns

    3. Betadin antiseptic ointment – Drug or Feed store

    4. Vetericyn VF Plus H ydrogel or contaminated wounds that cannot be bandaged. Spray on – your Veterinarian

  3. 3)  Wound dressings 

Telfa AM - clean wounds. Drug Store, Veterinary supply or Veterinarian. Kerlix AMDTM gauze sponges - contaminated wounds. Drug Store, Veterinary supply or Veterinarian.

AluSpra Aerosol Bandage. Spray on clean wounds that cannot be bandaged. Veterinary supply store or Veterinarian.

4) Bandaging material

  1. Bandage scissors – Feed or Drug store or internet.

  2. Cotton bandage wraps – CombiRol or RediRol – Feed store or internet

  3. Conforming gauze rolls – Feed store or internet

  4. Self adherent bandage (e.g. Vetra or SECURWraM r  ElastianM); – Feed store or internet. To secure and cover the cotton bandage

  5. Elastico – Feed store or internet. To attach bandage, top and bottom, of bandage to the hair 


Health Update

Vancouver’s southland riding club, closed after strangles was detected in a rescue horse

CBC News British Columbia, March 16th, 2016. 

A prestigious South Vancouver riding club is closing immediately after a newly arrived rescue horse tested positive for the highly contagious equine disease known as strangles. "During this time measures will be taken to decontaminate and sanitize the property," said spokesperson Bronwyn Wilkinson in an email. "The goal is to ensure the grounds are safe and ready to open as soon as possible. "The strangles bacteria — streptococcus equi — was recently detected in a nasal sample of a horse named Valentine who arrived at the club approximately two weeks ago after being rescued from an Alberta meat pen. "Valentine was vet checked in Alberta before coming to Southlands and showed no signs of strangles," Wilkinson said. The upper respiratory tract disease causes high fever and swelling around the jaw and neck which can restrict breathing. Strangles isn't transferable to humans, and isn't usually fatal, but it can make horses seriously ill.

Livestock Board quarantines facility following case of equine disease

Equine Piroplasmosis (EP) affects only horses; unrelated to recent EHV-1 outbreak


A private racehorse training facility in southern New Mexico is under quarantine after a single horse there was confirmed to have a parasitic disease. The New Mexico Livestock Board imposed the quarantine --no horses in, no horses out -- at Jovi Training Stables late Friday after one horse there was confirmed to have EP. EP is a blood borne disease transmitted by ticks, or “mechanically via improperly sanitized syringes and the like”. Mild forms of EP can appear as weakness and lack of appetite. More severe signs include fever, anemia, weight loss, swelling of the limbs, and labored breathing. Death may occur in some cases. Humans cannot get EP. The disease is also unrelated to equine herpesvirus (EHV-1), which recently affected Jovi Training Facilities and other tracks and training facilities in the area.