One unfortunate side effect of this outbreak is that many trainers and owners are cancelling appointments with veterinarians, farriers, massage therapists, horse haulers, tooth floaters--anyone and everyone who might touch their horses. The horse professionals may have time to mow their lawns, or they may head to the racetracks looking for a week or two of work until this blows over.
If you're one of the people affected by this, take heart. This has happened before. It will happen again. And it has happened on a much larger scale than this (probably) will ever be. Just ask the horse professionals in Great Britain who survived the foot and mouth disease shutdown of the entire countryside, or the Australians who lost months of work during the Equine Influenza quarantines there.
What did people share during those times, when and if they were allowed into a stable to do some work? People wore latex gloves while working, and changed them between horses. Some wore baseball caps, changed them often, and washed them every night. They definitely washed their hair daily and kept it short. Farriers figured out that their "sweet spot" was the middle of the back and shoulders, and that a horse's muzzle would touch there, or the back of the head, especially when pulling the foreleg forward on a hoofstand.
People learned that an experienced horse holder was worth his or her weight in gold and could keep a horse's muzzle and mouth off the farrier. The holder should wear latex gloves and change them between horses.
As far as equipment is concerned, there are arguments raging whether sterilizing farrier tools is futile or not--is it even possible to sterilize a rasp? The most important thing would probably be to never use the same chain lead on two horses as a lip or nose chain; each horse should have its own. Some farriers like to carry their own, but this might not be the time to pull one out from behind the seat of your truck.
A sterile farrier's apron would be quite a trick. A farrier might impress clients right now by showing up with a shiny clean new apron, even if you go back to your old one later on.
As always, we'd love to hear about your experiences and see your pictures. Let's make the best of this and learn something!
Here are a couple of videos that I thought were interesting and helpful. Dr Hooten mentions biosecurity for farriers and veterinarians in the first video.
Linda Parelli and Veterinarian Dwight Hooten Discuss EHV
I'm including this video because Dr. Hooten is a long-time friend of Hoofcare and Lameness and because he doesn't seem concerned about farriers being a big biosecurity risk during a virus outbreak.
Arizona: Al Dunning's Experience
Arizona trainer Al Dunning had his life turned upside down when he returned from the cutting show in Utah last week. This news interview on an Arizona television station gives some insight into what the virus can cost.
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