Horse health is built from the ground up, which is why hoof care is so important. Healthy hooves need regular maintenance and daily care to stay strong, ensure soundness and hoof quality, and prevent hoof problems
The outside of the horse's hoof provides strength and flexibility to support your horse's weight. Above the hoof is the coronary band. This area creates the cells that become the hoof wall.
Under the hoof is the sole, the frog, and the heel bulbs. Inside this hoof capsule is soft tissue and bone. The coffin bone perches below the pastern and rests above the navicular bone. Soft tissue laminae, tendons, and ligaments hold the internal structures in place.
Your horse's overall health starts with the hoof. Your horse's hooves need a team of professionals to care for them, starting with you.
Your job is to keep your horse’s hoof clean with a hoof pick and to monitor your horse's feet for any changes. Do you see cracks in the hoof wall? Are you smelling anything unusual? Is your horse walking and moving as he normally does?
Your farrier works to support the proper conformation of the hoof. Trimming and shoeing keep the hoof in balance and help prevent lameness. Farriers can work to correct common hoof problems such as long toes, quarter cracks, and contracted heels, and ensure that horseshoe nails are placed correctly.. Some horses do best when shod; other horses do best without shoeing.
Your DVM works to provide diagnostics, medications, and treatment plans should a hoof care issue arise. Your vet can recommend hoof care products to work into your care routine and ensure the health of your horse’s feet
Overall hoof health is not always easy as there are plenty of obstacles in caring for the equine hoof. Staying ahead of hoof problems can help you avoid soundness issues and keep your horse comfortable.
Thrush is a common hoof problem. It is a bacterial infection that affects the sole and frog area. It can spread to the heel bulbs and create large cracks of infection. Severe cases will influence a horse's soundness. It does smell bad, and the first signs of infection should be treated with a Thrush Buster, a hoof packing paste, or an anti-bacterial spray.
White line disease is similar to thrush and occurs in the hoof wall. Small cracks open up the hoof to larger infections, and your veterinarian and farrier can help clear out the bacteria.
Abscesses are internal infections of the hoof. Call your vet and farrier right away if this issue arises. The pressure inside the hoof capsule from the infection causes pain and lameness. Immediate care can restore soundness and alleviate pain.
Laminitis is another hoof emergency and can be life-threatening. This serious hoof problem looks a lot like a hoof abscess or bruise, but the soft tissues inside the hoof become swollen and shift the bones' position.
It's easy to support your horse's hoof care daily. High-quality foods and supplements feed the hoof from the inside out. Hoof care supplements containing biotin and methionine target hoof health.
Use a hoof pick daily, and inspect the hooves for heat, cracks, and changes. Using hoof care products like hardeners and conditioners adds shine and creates a waterproof barrier.
Alert your vet and farrier at the first signs of a hoof problem. Early intervention is vital to keeping your horse comfortable.
Our knowledgeable team at Corro is happy to help. Call us at 866-962-6776 with any questions about your horse's hoof care needs.
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How Many Times a Day Should I Pick my Horse's Hooves?
At the bare minimum, you should clean your horse's hooves once daily. However, it's a great idea to pick them before and after a ride or turnout to check for stones and loose shoes.
How Often Should my Farrier Trim my Horse?
This will vary depending on your horse's conformation, overall hoof quality, the hoof growth rate, and the season. Hooves grow faster in the summer, and your farrier may need to visit more often. Most horses do well with a farrier visit every five to eight weeks.
Can Thrush and White Line Cause Lameness?
Yes! Both infections are caused by bacteria that grow without oxygen, which makes the hoof an ideal place. Too much infection will damage the frog, sole, and hoof wall, creating pain and lameness.
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