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2003/03/07

Disinfect Stalls Before Foaling by Dr. Frederick Harper, University of Tennessee We have all heard that "Cleanliness is next to godliness."Well, that is certainly true in reference to the foaling stall. Each spring, microorganisms in foaling stalls make some foals sick. A few even die. Foaling stalls must be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected before being used in the spring and after each foaling. Foaling stalls are not easily disinfected due to raw wood, concrete and dirt floors which traps germs and are hard to clean. Wooden partitions should be thoroughly cleaned. Fill knots and cracks with plastic wood, then apply two or three coats of marine-quality varnish.Paint concrete blocks, used as walls and partitions, with two coats of an enamel paint.The varnish and enamel paint provide smooth, non-porous surfaces that can be disinfected properly. Remove as much organic matter, such as manure, as possible from clay, dirt or sand floors. If horses with rotavirus or enteric salmonellosis were housed in these stalls, remove the top 6-12 inches of floor and replace with new material. Now, you are ready to disinfect the foaling stall(s). Phenolic compounds are the disinfectant of choice because they kill rotavirus, a major cause of foal diarrhea, and other bacteria and viruses that cause disease. And, they work in the presence of organic matter. These compounds end in -phenol or -phenate as noted on the active ingredient list. Quaternary ammonium compounds are ineffective against rotavirus and are inactivated by organic matter. Pine oil is not a disinfectant, but it smells good. University of Kentucky researchers recommend the following procedure to effectively disinfect the foaling stall(s): *Remove all bedding material. *Thoroughly sweep the stall. *Scrub all surfaces with an anionic detergent such as Tide (proctor and Gamble), using steam or pressure water. *Rinse all detergent and organic matter from surfaces. * Apply phenolic disinfectant to walls and floor twice. Allow complete drying after each application. *Bed with fresh bedding material. *Clean and rinse all water and feed buckets before replacing in the stall. Also, do not house new horses or returning show horses with pregnant broodmares. Horses re-entering the farm or those visiting the farm should be isolated, especially from all pregnant mares and mares with new foals. It may seem like a lot of effort. But, in comparison to the time and money invested in a foal, this procedure is a cheap management practice.

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