Biosecurity Plan for the Farrier in Response to the EHV-1 Outbreak

Biosecurity Plan for the Farrier in Response to the EHV-1 Outbreak

by Steve Prescott, APF CJF
American & Canadian Associations of Professional Farriers

With the reoccurring incidences of Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1) I thought it would be a good opportunity to talk about how we farriers can take precautions against the spread of infectious diseases. Although EHV-1 is highly contagious among horses, it does not pose a threat to human health. The aggressive nature of this disease certainly warrants our attention, so I thought I would dig a bit deeper into methods we can employ to keep diseases like EHV from spreading throughout our horses from a farrier aspect.

A quick internet search will get you plenty of information from many of good sources and I have included some in my bibliography below. The bottom line is that in order to prevent the spread of disease we need to do these things:

1) Wash and disinfect our hands thoroughly between horses. Common soap and water will kill the virus on your hands, but to be safe use a hand sanitizer as well.

2) Disinfect our tools, chaps and work surfaces. Diluting 1 part bleach to 10 parts water is a common effective disinfectant for surfaces. Use it liberally and allow it to dry completely. If you are worried about any staining or bleaching that may occur with this protocol then you can use Nolvasan (clorhexidine) solution. Make sure you follow the dilution recommendations on the label.

3) Change your shirt between horses in a high risk barn. The discharge from the nasal cavity of a sick horse could very well be slobbered all over your back when you are finishing feet on the peg, and then transferred to the next horse when HE wallows all over your back. Normal laundering methods with detergent will disinfect your clothes.

4) Make sure you save any potentially infected horses or stops for the end of the day to reduce the transmission of the disease. Finish each day by thoroughly disinfect again.

5) Prompt post-contact use of hand sanitizer by individuals having contact with horses during exercise

It is our responsibility to our clients and the horses in our care to do our part in the containment of EHV-1. I encourage everyone to keep a vigilant eye out for sick horses as well. Please look up the following links for more information.

Posted by the American & Canadian Associations of Professional Farriers -