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By using a hand-held infrared radiation thermometer, Andrew Elsbree never worries about hot nails.
When he’s done nailing a double nail pad on a short or broken hoof, the Greenville, N.Y., farrier frequently uses a pocket-sized infrared thermometer with a laser beam sighting device to scan the hoof’s temperature.
“If I find an area around a nail where the temperature is higher than the rest of the hoof, I’ll pull the nail and start over,” he says. “Since I bought one of these inexpensive infrared thermometers, I haven’t had to go back to a barn to deal with a nail.”
Normally, Elsbree can use his hand to determine if there’s any excessive heat in a portion of a hoof, but not always. Using the infrared thermometer, a typical temperature in the coronet band area measures 90 degrees but drops to 87 or 88 degrees a half inch lower on the hoof.
“If your heel or toe nails are warmer than the rest of the hoof, the temperature reading may show you have a problem with a hot nail,” he says.
Elsbree finds the thermometer works best when held an inch or two from the hoof. “Just aim the pistol-like instrument at a specific hoof area, pull the trigger and read the temperature on the screen,” he says.
POINT, SHOOT, READ. With a pocket-sized, easy-to-use infrared thermometer, varying hoof-area temperatures can help you immediately spot shoeing troubles before finishing a horse.
While infrared thermometers have been used for…