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Wrap It Up Right

Farriers dealing with first aid situations should know how to properly apply a bandage — but also know when a vet needs to be called in

There are times a farrier must administer first aid for a foot or leg injury, and it’s handy to know what products/materials might be helpful, and some do’s and don’ts for proper bandaging.

Scott Pleasant of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine says farriers should understand the basic principles and techniques of bandage applications. He advises farriers to avoid recommending specific treatments, however, because this is out of their professional realm.

“Farriers need to be careful to not put themselves in situations where they could be construed as diagnosing or prescribing treatments (practicing veterinary medicine) or they could be held liable if something goes wrong,” says Pleasant. “If there is any doubt, the farrier should recommend that a veterinarian be consulted.”

Melinda Freckleton, a veterinarian from Haymarket, Va., agrees that it’s important farriers not over reach into veterinary medicine, but knows there are situations in which a farrier may be the most qualified person to do first aid until the veterinarian gets there.

“It might be a foot problem the owner called the farrier to look at, or an accident/problem in which the farrier happened to be on the scene,” she says. “He or she may be the calmest, most experienced person to deal with the problem.”

Freckleton says farriers should encourage horse owners to call a vet when necessary, but may also apply a bandage to take care of a problem that doesn’t need a vet, or to protect a wound until a vet arrives. 

Farriers must use…

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Heather Smith Thomas

Heather Smith Thomas is a freelance writer based in Salmon, Idaho. She has been writing books and articles for nearly 50 years.

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