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GROOMING TOOLS: Sharing Is Not Always A Good Thing

When multiple horses occupy the same barn, people are often kind to share items such as equipment, supplies and various grooming tools. One should think twice, however, when coming across the opportunity to share grooming tools between horses. Grooming tools that come in direct contact with the skin such as currycombs, brushes, scrapers, sponges and washcloths are perfect vehicles for spreading skin diseases. Likewise, saddle pads, tack and blankets can carry contagions from horse to horse as well.

One of the most highly contagious equine skin diseases is Ringworm. Despite its name, it is not caused by a worm, but rather a fungal infection. Also known as Dermatophytosis, Ringworm spreads in circular patches, creating distinct round bald spots with centers of itchy, crusty, scaly skin. Rainrot is another contagion but not as serious.

What To Do

Disinfect your horse’s grooming tools regularly, even when there is no outbreak. The key is to kill the pathogens that can be done with a short soak in a mild bleach solution (10:1) followed by drying in direct sunlight. Then, don’t share your tools. Take the same approach with tack, saddle pads, blankets and bridles.

If a skin disorder does break out and jumps from one horse to another, call your vet to determine how to prevent further spreading and to offer treatment for infections.