One source of uncertainty for livestock owners during COVID-19 is whether or not the virus poses a risk to animals, including caring for horses. With this in mind, it is important that horse owners be aware of possible health risks associated with the coronavirus and act accordingly.
Luckily, there is no evidence that humans can spread coronavirus to horses, but horse owners should still exercise caution, especially if they test positive for the disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that those who have symptoms of coronavirus stay away from animals. It is recommended that horse owners temporarily hand over care of their horses. However, this may not be possible for everyone. In this case, horse owners should exercise precautions such as washing their hands before interacting with any horses as well as wearing a mask around their horses.
If you are able to relinquish care of your horse to someone else while you wait for your illness to subside, there are some important steps to take to make sure that your horse still receives the care it needs in your absence. First, make sure you choose someone who you trust and who has experience with handling horses. For one, experienced caretakers will be able to take horses out of their stall, which is preferable to keeping the horse in the stall for several days.
Even if your chosen caretaker has plenty of experience caring for horses, you should still provide instructions for how to care for it. There are a variety of things you should specify in these instructions. They include instructions for:
Feeding (what, when, where, and how often),
For the safety of both the caretaker and your horse, you should point out any of your horse’s behavioral issues.
It may also be necessary to keep your veterinarian in the loop. For one, make sure your caretaker has the contact information of your veterinarian in case of an emergency. And again, while no evidence exists that coronavirus can be transmitted to horses, if you notice any troubling health developments affecting your horse, it is best to reach out to your veterinarian just in case.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it a lot of chaos and confusion. Horse owners might see this confusion compounded by uncertainty about the implications it might have on their horses and their ability to adequately care for them. Nevertheless, if you stay in contact with your veterinarian, practice good hygiene, and are willing to hand over care of the horse to someone you trust, you needn’t worry about the wellbeing of your horses.