New facility is for the isolation and treatment of horses with suspected or confirmed contagious diseases
Project cost is valued at $5.4 million, with work expected to be finished in January 2020
The first sod has been turned on the $5.4 million Equine Isolation Facility at Charles Sturt University (Charles Sturt) in Wagga Wagga.
The Faculty of Science facility, aligned with the Veterinary Clinic Centre (VCC), is for the isolation and treatment of horses with suspected or confirmed contagious diseases.
The state-of-the-art facility will feature six stables that operate independently from each other to protect other animals and staff at the VCC.
Charles Sturt School of Animal and Veterinary Science Associate Professor in equine medicine, and Clinical Director, Kris Hughes said, “We need appropriate facilities to deal with horses that have potentially or confirmed contagious diseases and often require intensive clinical management”.
“This new isolation facility is an expansion of our capabilities to provide a high-intensity level of veterinary care to patient that require isolation,” Associate Professor Hughes said.
Horses admitted to the veterinary clinic that are suspected or confirmed of having contagious pathogens with risk of transmission to other animals (and possibly humans), including strangles, Chlamydia psittaci, Hendra virus, salmonella cryptosporidium, rotavirus and Clostridium difficile, will be admitted and treated in the new facility.
Associate Professor Hughes said the existing facility had only two stables and its limited size presented logistic and workflow challenges to accommodate the needs of the VCC for the isolation and treatment of horses.
The existing isolation facility at the VCC treats about 40 horses per year, with an average stay of about one week per animal.
Associate Professor Hughes expects the new facility will admit greater numbers of horses per year and will further expand the infection control, biosecurity and intensive care capacity of the VCC, safeguarding local and regional equine industries.
The larger purpose-built facility will provide optimal clinical workplace safety and education and training opportunities for Charles Sturt students, and has energy efficient benefits including renewable energy, rain water harvesting and thermal mass construction.
“Each stable functions in an autonomous fashion so there’s no sharing of air flow or equipment,” Associate Professor Hughes said.
Work began on Wednesday 17 July, with construction and accreditation expected to be completed and approved by January 2020.