Blackberry Farm Livery Yard, near Dunbar is the first in East Lothian to receive a certificate of health status as part of the Premium Assured Strangles Scheme.
Strangles is an infectious respiratory disease of horses caused by the bacteria Streptococcus equi and it is a serious ongoing problem in the UK.
The Premium Assured Strangles Scheme is an initiative launched by SAC Consulting Veterinary Services (a division of SRUC) and supported by The British Horse Society (BHS).
The scheme is designed to accredit yards with robust and practical biosecurity measures in place, monitoring both new arrivals to the yard as well as annual monitoring of all the horses and ponies on the yard. Monitoring in the first instance is by blood sampling looking to see if the animals have been exposed to the strangles bacteria with further testing as required for some horses.
“The aim of the scheme is to protect healthy horses and equine yards from infection with strangles and prevent the spread of the disease by detecting carriers of the disease.
Livery yard owner, Donna Collins said: “Equitait Veterinary Practice have been fantastic and walked us through the process. They’ve also provided us with a tailor made yard health plan which along with detailing all our usual health provisions, also describes our requirements for isolation and testing of incoming animals to help reduce our risk of bringing a carrier of the strangles bacteria onto the yard.
“We are improving our facilities and increasing our equine numbers so wanted to make sure we were protecting our current liveries both now and in the future by enjoying this enhanced health status for our yard”.
Colin Tait of Equitait Veterinary Practice advocates the scheme as an innovative project which he hopes will reduce the number of large scale strangles outbreaks by early detection of those horses carrying the disease in pouches at the back of their throats. Colin believes that the scheme will provide additional comfort for livery yard owners and clients alike.