Choosing flooring for equine recovery and treatment areas

Discover the "why" behind the different types of floorings for equine medical, recovery and surgery rooms

Choosing the right flooring for equine recovery and treatment areas can be a difficult process to navigate...

In this article we'll discuss the types of flooring you might consider for:

  • Medical Areas
  • Induction and Recovery Rooms
  • Surgery Rooms
  • Patient Areas

Medical Areas

This include the exam room and any diagnostic imaging and standing treatment areas.  This type of floor needs to be quite multi purpose so a seamless rubber floor is best in these areas as having the following features:

  • High slip resistance.
  • Durability
  • Ease of cleaning—good sanitation is essential.
  • Attention to detail of joints and edges.  Made easier by 1 piece or rolled rubber systems.

There are not many flooring systems on the market that have all of these features to a suitable specification. For the sake of safety, the floor surface should have a small amount of compression or "give".

Porous flooring systems should be avoided in these areas as micro organisms and debris can build up in the open pores and become unsanitary and difficult to clean.

On the subject of poured rubber or "pour on rubber"...

You might consider a poured rubber floor system for some areas.  This system consists of rubber granules mixed with resin and poured onto the floor.  Then a resin type top coat is sometimes applied (depending on use) to seal the surface.

A poured rubber requires a consistent depth between 15mm and 20mm thick and therefore may not work so well if edges have to be taped, for example to a drain.

As the product is mixed on site, this is open to mixing ratios of components which can lead to variances in quality between mixes and location.  In the equine world, hooves and equipment aren't so gentle on flooring so there is a greater risk of quality issues over against a rubber product factory manufactured in a controlled environment. 

Equine Induction and Recovery Rooms (sometimes called "knock down" boxes)

Both areas require a top quality seamless flooring system.  Some veterinary hospitals have separate rooms for induction and recovery.  In this case some differences can be offered for each application but it's not essential.

Equine Induction Room - the right balance between firm and cushioned can be achieved with a one piece rubber sheet and foam layer.  Depending on your induction process the flooring must allow the horse to descend to the floor in a controlled manner.  The rubber material must be extremely robust to counteract the forces applied by this procedure.

Equine Recovery Room - again, its the balance between firm and cushioning.  However with this the bias is shifted towards cushioning which in turn allows the horse plenty of grip and stability when trying to stand.

Keep in mind that if you use the same room for induction and recovery this is not a problem and a firmer type of flooring system should be considered.

Surgery Rooms

In this area, the horse is not standing on the floor and therefore it does not have to be resilient. However, a weight of 1000kg or more will be experienced with the horse and surgery table. Obviously, a high level of cleanliness and sanitation must be maintained and the best result is achieved by using a resin flooring system which includes epoxy resin and acrylic urethane.  The following characteristics are recommended:

  • Minimum thickness of 6mm.
  • The base of the wall should be covered to seal the joint.
  • A urethane layer on the top will resistant chemicals present.

Patient Areas (ICU stables etc)

A seamless flooring system is recommended in any ICU and high-risk patient wards. This is particularly essential if any amount of water is used to clean to prevent the build-up of infection.

It may be that your equine hospital does not have an infectious patient, or not very often, however a seamless rubber sheet would still be recommended for ease of cleaning between occupants.

In Conclusion: 

In summary, consider your flooring options carefully and take the time to research the materials.

  • Contact other equine hospitals and ask specialists for advice to ascertain their use of products that have proved successful.
  • Obtain samples of the flooring you are considering using.
  • Jelka are very knowledgeable and experienced in the area of rubber flooring and we would love to help you with any questions, please get in touch.

    Got a question about rubber flooring for your equine hospital?

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