Ranch Care

Updated: May 29

Hypochlorous in the Barn

Effective bacteria and virus control!

Safe Disinfectant is an excellent choice when disinfecting stables, trailers and grooming equipment. Rinsing areas and equipment can help prevent cross contamination between animals. Fogging air ventilation systems can also improve air quality.

Air Quality Concerns

“Good air quality in facilities can have a major impact on the health and well-being of animals; inflammatory airway disease in horses is linked to barn air.”

A recent study has shed some light on the likelihood of potential disease causing pathogens in stables especially closed box stalls. Pathogens such as Escherichia coli, staphylococci, mold fungi and other airborne bacteria float invisibly in the barn atmosphere. This microbial concentration could cause respiratory illness in both the horses and humans.

Revealing Issues

Researchers from the Department of Microbiology at the University of Agriculture in Kracow, Poland took air samples four times a year (once in each season) for three years. These samples were taken from four to five locations within each of three riding stables:

  • Stable 1 - 15 horses were housed in seven indoor box stalls and eight outdoor box stalls.

  • Stable 2 - considered to be the most modern stables in Poland, there were 100 horses housed in indoor box stalls.

  • Stable 3 - 30 horses were living in groups outdoors with three sided shelters with a main barn for storage, tack and rider supplies.

The team found very high levels of "bioaerosols, organic air pollutants, in Stable 2.

Average airborne bacteria rates were approximately 25% higher in Stable 2 than in Stable 1, and 10x higher than in Stable 3.

The bacteria identified included Staphylococcus spp., Streptococcus spp., Bacillus spp., and E.coli. Average mold fungi was more than twice as high in Stable 2 than in Stable 1 and more than 3x higher than in Stable 3. The fungi species they found included Aspergillus, Fusarium, Mucor, Rhizopus, Penicillium, Trichothecium, Cladosporium, and Alternaria.

Outside air is presumed to be the optimal for respiratory health, and ventilation of stables aims to approach outside-air quality for both the horse, and the horse

owner. Curiously, there is recent evidence that horses spending time outdoors in cold

climates can acquire airway inflammation. (#horse#health#equine respiratory)

Contributing Factors

“people without a history of respiratory issues report having asthma symptoms after employment as stable workers"

Even when modern facilities are built with the intention to solely house animals the air quality can deteriorate rapidly during winter conditions. At this time the inflow of cold outside air is limited by the closure of windows, blockage of ventilation channels, or even closure of entire sections of the stable to provide a more comfortable (personal) working environment. This, however, can adversely impair the removal of excess moisture, stable gases and organic air particles that should be replaced by fresh outside air via ventilation.

Time for change

Improved management of horse stable climate will be beneficial for the airways of workers, riding-students and horses spending considerable time in confined stabling systems with variable air quality!


AU - Elfman, Lena AU - Walinder, Robert AU - Riihimaki, Miia AU - Pringle, John PY - 2011/07/27 SP - SN - 978-953-307-316-3 T1 - Air Quality in Horse Stables DO - 10.5772/18228 ER -


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