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For Equine Vets Everywhere

HBLB Codes of Practice

preventing and controlling specific diseases in all breeds of horse and pony

The codes set out voluntary recommendations to help breeders, in conjunction with their veterinary surgeons. We have provided quick links below to each disease and relevant subsections, you can also search the HBLB Code of Practice.

Quick links to each disease and subsection

Contagious Equine Metritis - CEM

This Code of Practice covers disease caused by three species of bacteria: taylorella equigenitalis, klebsiella pneumoniae, pseudomonas aeruginosa

Equine Viral Arteritis - EVA

Equine viral arteritis (EVA) is caused by the equine arteritis virus (EAV). The virus occurs worldwide in Thoroughbred and non-Thoroughbred populations.

EQUINE Herpesvirus - EHV

Equine herpesvirus is a common virus that occurs in horse populations worldwide. The two most common types are EHV-1, which causes respiratory disease in young horses, abortion in pregnant mares and paralysis in horses of all ages and types, and EHV-4, which usually only causes low-grade respiratory disease but can occasionally cause abortion.

EQUINE Coital Exanthema - ECE

Equine coital exanthema (ECE) is a predominantly sexually-transmitted disease caused by infection with Equid Herpesvirus 3 (EHV-3), a highly contagious but otherwise non-invasive and relatively benign virus. EHV-3 is distinct from the other equine herpesviruses.


Equine Infectious Anaemia (EIA), sometimes known as Swamp Fever, is caused by the equine infectious anaemia virus (EIAV). The virus occurs worldwide, including in parts of mainland Europe, in Thoroughbred and non-Thoroughbred horse populations.


Strangles is a disease of the lymph nodes of the equine upper respiratory tract. It is caused by the bacterium Streptococcus equi (S. equi) and is endemic within the horse population of the United Kingdom.


The Codes of Practice often refer to the isolation of horses. In its strictest sense,‘isolation’ means a separate facility with separate staff, separate protective clothing, separate utensils/equipment and thorough steam cleaning and disinfection of stables between each occupant.

Reporting notifiable diseases

There are statutory requirements that suspicion of the notifiable diseases of CEM, EVA, EIA and dourine must be reported immediately to the appropriate Field Service office of the Animal & Plant Health Agency (APHA).