Is My Farrier a Biosecurity Risk?

A horse owner wonders if a farrier moving from barn to barn during the day could spread equine diseases.

Farms should have a quarantine procedure for traffic control of personnel—including farriers—and other animals. If there is a need for farrier service during quarantine, the horse owner or property owner should make the farrier aware of the situation. | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Daisy Bicking

Q.Is my farrier a biosecurity risk? Regarding disease spread, we are told not to share our equipment with different horses, but what about the farrier? He goes from barn to barn using the same equipment for all of the horses; he might touch your horse; and his shoes or boots could have some kind of disease on the soles. Should I have my farrier clean his equipment before using it on my horses, or should I not worry?

Jane McNeely, Sylmar, California

A.This is an excellent question: How can horse owners help farriers prevent disease spread among horses? This speaks directly to what we recognized as biosecurity—the management strategy used to prevent the introduction and spread of infectious and other disease-causing agents into a group of animals or people. This strategy is generally accomplished by isolation, traffic control, sanitation, and

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Written by:

Dudley Hurst, CJF, is manager of farrier services at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine in Knoxville. He also serves at the research committee chair for the American Farriers Association.

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