Hot Literature: Does offering farrier services make financial and professional sense?

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Jan 03, 2011

Researchers at the Orthopedic Research Laboratory at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine have published the findings of a unique study in Equine Veterinary Education looking at the state of farrier services offered in private equine hospital practices in the United States. The goal of this study was to describe the farrier services currently available at these private hospitals with the expectation that the findings will increase the quality and availability of these services and improve veterinarian-farrier relationships.

The authors contacted board-certified veterinary surgeons at numerous private equine clinics to determine whether the hospitals offered farrier services and whether they were willing to participate in the survey. Fifty-eight surveys were sent to private equine hospitals, all of which had a board-certified veterinary surgeon on staff. Hospitals were asked to give details pertaining to farrier services, the financial practicality of offering these services, the available facilities, and information on the farriers themselves.

Most of the hospitals surveyed offered in-house farrier service, but most farriers worked less than six hours a week in-house. While 86% were paid directly by the client rather than by the equine hospital, a large percentage (82%) of the hospitals reported that the in-house service was either profitable or met operational costs. Many of the hospitals used these services to provide professional education in a clinical or lecture setting. Most of the farriers had professional certification, and 98% of the farriers were male, with most between the ages of 31 and 51.

As the authors note, private equine hospital in-house and ambulatory farrier services are integral to providing quality comprehensive equine care, improving client education, and even increasing practice profits. A sister article examining farrier services at veterinary teaching hospitals is also available in the same issue of Equine Veterinary Education, giving further insight into the clinical combination of veterinary and farrier services.

Kirker-Head CA, Schwoegler M. Farrier services at private equine hospital practices in the USA. Equine Vet Ed 2010;22(10):513-518.

Link to abstract: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.0957-7734.2010.00125.x/abstract