In a situation where there are sick horses in a stable or at a show you need to know how to keep the pathogens away from your horse as much as possible. Even in a situation where all the horses seem to be healthy, it's a good idea to periodically disinfect the feeding and grooming tools you use with your horses.
Keep in mind that the grime that builds up on grooming brushes and other tools is more than just unsightly; it may harbor bacteria and fungi that can cause a number of diseases. Any tools that come in contact with your horse or his wastes—including muck buckets, shovels, wheelbarrows and hoof picks—ought to be sanitized with a disinfectant periodically. It’s especially important to sanitize any tools you’ve used caring for a sick horse. Here are the basic steps:
- Scrape or knock off any hair or caked-on dirt and debris.
- Clean with a squirt or two of dish or laundry detergent in a gallon or more of water. Scrub your grooming brushes against each other to remove all dirt; use scrub brushes on larger tools and buckets.
- Rinse thoroughly with clean water.
- For extra disinfection, soak the tools in a commercial sanitizer, such as phenol, quaternary ammonium, accelerated hydrogen peroxide or a peroxygen-based product, or a mild bleach solution for at least 10 minutes as recommended by your veterinarian. The type of disinfectant needed will vary with the targeted micro-organism and the surface of the material being cleaned. Read the labels for handling instructions and safety precautions; use rubber gloves and safety goggles to protect your skin and eyes.
- Rinse feed and water buckets thoroughly, making sure no soap or chemical residue remains.
- Set the items out in bright sunlight to dry—the ultraviolet light will kill more pathogens