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Your Equine Veterinarian Helps with Hoof Care Essentials

Healthy hooves are a vital part of a horse’s overall well-being. Damage or disease affecting these essential weight-bearing structures can not only lead to pain, lameness and secondary infection, but it can also make a horse more vulnerable to trips and falls that cause major traumatic injuries. In addition to having any obvious signs of hoof trouble or lameness diagnosed and treated, owners should have their horses’ hooves checked and routine maintenance performed at regular intervals to ensure optimum wellness. An experienced equine veterinarian can make all the difference in your horse’s health and quality of life.

Preventing Painful Conditions in Horses with Hoof Care

As a horse owner or someone who works with horses, it is important to know what kinds of dental trouble signs to look for so that your horse is able to eat and work comfortably. As mentioned previously, your horse should receive an oral examination as part of a general physical examination. It is important for you to be aware that dental problems can happen in between those checkups so you should call for assistance if necessary.

Laminitis can cause extreme discomfort and render a horse lame in short order. Treatment of the condition involves rest in addition to addressing the underlying problem. Supplements, a special diet, sedative and painkilling medications, or special supports may be prescribed to treat laminitis. Correct, regular trimming by your equine vet can help prevent some of the damage that can promote laminitis.

Infection is another potential threat to horses’ hooves. One common bacterial infection, thrush, causes the infection site to become black and crumbly, and a foul odor may also be present. Wet, muddy or unclean hooves are vulnerable to this and other types of infection. Repeated bouts of infection can eventually lead to a progressive deterioration of the lamina known as white line syndrome.

Regular cleaning of the hooves can help prevent infection, while proper trimming can prevent the hooves from cracking and opening the way for bacteria to enter. Treatment for thrush typically involves the application of an iodine solution or topical prescription medicines. Severely damaged tissues may need to be removed, after first removing that section of hoof, to allow for the growth of new, healthy tissue. During this time the horse may require special shoeing to protect these tissues as they reform.

Occasional hoof injuries are to be expected given the hard work these structures must perform. Soreness, abscesses, bruises and other conditions should be taken seriously, and the owner should contact us for an evaluation. We can recommend best practices for weight management, diet, nutrition, hoof cleaning and hygiene — all factors in healthy hooves.

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