Horse owners' biosecurity practices following the first equine influenza outbreak in Australia

K. Schemann*, M. R. Taylor, J. A L M L Toribio, N. K. Dhand

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

32 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A cross-sectional study was conducted involving 759 Australian horse owners to determine their biosecurity practices and perceptions one year after the 2007 equine influenza outbreak and to investigate the factors influencing these perceptions and practices. A web link to an online questionnaire was sent to 1224 horse owners as a follow-up to a previous study to obtain information about biosecurity perceptions and practices, impacts of the 2007 EI outbreak, demographic information and information about horse industry involvement. Ordinal logistic regression analyses were conducted to determine factors associated with poor biosecurity practices. Biosecurity compliance (low, medium, high), as determined by horse owners' responses to a 16-item question on the frequency of various biosecurity measures, was used as the outcome variable in ordinal logistic regression analyses. Variables with a univariable p-value ≤0.2 were eligible for inclusion in multivariable models built using a manual stepwise approach. Variables with a p-value <0.05 in multivariable models were retained in the final model. Two potential confounders - age and gender of participants - were included in the final model irrespective of their p-values. Thirty percent of the respondents had low biosecurity compliance and were performing biosecurity practices 'not very often' or 'never'. Younger people, people with two or more children, those who were not involved with horses commercially and those who had no long-term business impacts resulting from the 2007 EI outbreak were more likely to have lower biosecurity compliance. People who were not fearful of a future outbreak of equine influenza in Australia and those who thought their current hygiene and access control practices were not very effective in protecting their horses also had poor biosecurity practices. In this observational study we identified factors associated with a group of horse owners with low levels of biosecurity compliance. As this cross-sectional study only assesses associations, the identified factors should be further investigated in order to be considered in the design of extension activities to increase horse owners' biosecurity compliance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-314
Number of pages11
JournalPreventive Veterinary Medicine
Volume102
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Biosecurity
  • Equine
  • Ordinal logistic regression
  • Owner perceptions

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