Healthspan January 03, 2018

From the outside, the hoof looks like a relatively simple structure, but that is far from the case. Without the right care and nutrition, there are a number of trouble spots within the hoof which can cause of a number of painful problems…

Cracks in the hoof wall

These can be caused by a number of things, including work on hard surfaces and incorrect trimming. Picking their hooves daily can help prevent this problem.

White line disease in the inner hoof wall

Also known as ‘seedy toe’, white line disease can lead the inner hoof wall to separate and appear as a hole or crack. The hoof may also become white, brittle and crumbly. Cleaning your horse’s hooves as often as possible is a good way of helping to keep white line disease at bay.

Laminitis in the laminae

When a horse is suffering from laminitis, the laminae (the layers of modified skin cells between the coffin bone and the hoof wall) become inflamed. Any horse can suffer from laminitis but ensuring your horse maintains a healthy weight and receives the correct balance of nutrients are important preventative measures.

Bruising to the frog

Also known as the ‘shock absorber’, the frog can often become bruised by contact with hard uneven ground as well as sharp, icy snow. The grooves of the frog can also harbour thrush infections which emit a strong-smelling black discharge. The bacteria thrive in wet, muddy conditions so ensure your horse has somewhere dry to stand.

Bruising and corns on the sole

This part is also prone to bruising from uneven surfaces, which can appear as red specks. This is also where corns can form from bruises - help prevent this by cleaning their hooves before and after rides.

Nothing beats a healthy, balanced diet to provide all the nutrients we need. But when this isn’t possible supplements can help. This article isn’t intended to replace medical advice. Please consult your healthcare professional before trying supplements or herbal medicines.

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