Q: Can I still get a vet to see my horse?
A: Vets are still available to see your horse, like the rest of the country, vets have to avoid unnecessary journeys, so they are concentrating on maintaining a 24-hour emergency service and only seeing urgent/sick/emergency patients.
If you have any worries about your horse, your vet will be pleased to speak to you and may ask you to send some photos or a video of your horse so that they can determine if they should see your horse.
Q: What about flu vaccinations and dentals, will my vet still do them?
A: All routine procedures (vaccinations, routine dentistry, pre-purchase examinations, poor performance / mild & longstanding lameness examinations, health check-ups) have been stopped, and only services that are essential for animal welfare are continuing.
Currently, this means that stud and reproductive visits have also stopped, however, if your horse is due a 2nd flu vaccine because it had its 1st vaccine before the current restrictions were in place or if your horse suffers a dental emergency, then the vet will come and see your horse.
Vaccinations for other diseases may still be done; your vet will need to discuss the risks against the benefits with you and make a decision based on your individual circumstances.
Q: If the vet visits do I need to take any special precautions or do anything differently?
A: Social distancing rules still apply when your vet visits. So, your vet will want to speak to you beforehand about what symptoms your horse has so a plan can be made.
Please have your horse already in the stable and tied up and have some warm water available for your vet to wash.
If you have any symptoms of Covid-19 or are self-isolating have someone who is fit, and well attend your horse – do not attend yourself.
Minimise the number of people present – ideally just the handler and vet; the vet may have to sedate your horse to be able to examine them safely without you holding the horse.
Q: Can I ride my horse?
A: Horse riding is a recognised dangerous sport, so we don’t advise you ride your horse at the moment (many countries have introduced a ban, the UK has not at the moment).
This is because if you are injured, you will need to use the emergency services and the NHS which is already stretched to capacity, an injury from horse riding is avoidable at this time.
Exercise your horse by walking in hand or lunging.
Q: Can the farrier still come and trim my horse’s feet?
A: The British Farriers & Blacksmiths Association has advised all farriers to only attend horses for essential work so please discuss with them about your horse’s feet, they may ask you to send photos of the feet to help them decide if a visit to your horse is essential.
Q: Can I travel my horse?
A: Only if that journey is essential should you travel your horse, examples of this are for veterinary emergencies or welfare (e.g. rescuing abandoned horses).
Q: Can I catch Covid-19 from a horse?
A: Current opinion is that animals do not transmit the virus; it is a human-to-human disease. Remember that the virus can be transferred between people on things. Do not share tack, feed buckets, mucking out equipment and if you have to touch something on the yard that another person has touched, make sure it has been wiped-down, gates, store doors, forage and bedding supplies are all things that are commonly communal at a stable.
Q: What happens if I catch Covi-19 or I am in self-isolation?
A: Prepare a horse plan. Share it with the yard owner or manager and buddy up with other horse-owning friends.
This will give you a contingency in case you become ill or have to self-isolate, remember if you or a member of your household becomes ill then none of you will be able to leave the house and attend your horse.