Farriers and Preventing Spread of Disease

As horse owners, you are all well aware of how disease can quickly spread and you take all necessary precautions to prevent this from happening such as not sharing equipment without first cleaning and disinfecting, no intimate contact or drinking from a communal trough, isolating new horses before adding them to your herd and so on.

Your vet well knows the arr s/he must take because of often working with sick horses. Instruments are sterile, clean gloves worn at each horse visited.

Your farrier also goes from place to place, working on horses, walking through barns and using the same tools for every horse. S/he may be unaware of the possibility of spreading disease from horse to horse and farm to farm.

Anyone who visits your farm and handles your horses should be made aware of your safety policies. If there is no known spread of contagious disease in your area, the farrier should simply clean tools and wash hands thoroughly after working on each horse.

However, in the case of an outbreak of contagious disease, the rules change.

Ask your farrier to stay away from your property unless s/he follows certain precautions until the outbreak passes. Viruses and bacteria can live on most surfaces.

The farrier should be asked to bring a set of clean clothes and clean boots to change into. S/he should use a disinfectant to wash hands and arms and clean boots. Equipment must be carefully cleaned and disinfected.

If your horse is showing signs of illness, inform the farrier and consider rescheduling or making your horse the last visit. The farrier then has time to clean and disinfect equipment before the next day’s work and this could help prevent the spread of disease.

Keeping barn and stalls as clean as possible, checking your horse regularly, vet care when necessary, keeping equipment clean and in good shape should help keep disease at bay.

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