Hoof problems in horses
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Healthy hooves are the basis for a healthy and flexible horse. Unfortunately are hoof problems quite common. In many cases the hooves have to endure more, which means that a daily care such as cleaning the hooves is necessary. But you can also improve the hoove from within. Examples of common problems with the hooves are cracks and fissures in the horn wall, slow growing hooves, crumbly hooves and sensitive soles. Read in this blog everything about good hoof care, what you can do with hoof problems and more importantly how you can prevent them.
What are the most common hoof problems?
There are many different hoof problems in horses. With various causes such as incorrect load, poorer quality of the hoof, insufficient daily care, bacteria, fungus or inflammation. We have listed the most common hoof problems in horses for you here:
- Thrush: Often caused by a dirty stable or insufficient hoof care. Bacteria and fungi develop in the steel quarry and/or blast cushion which can ignite. This is very painful and carries a very unpleasant odor.
- Sole or hoof ulcer (pododermatitis): Dirt can penetrate through damage to the sole, the wall or via the white line. The hoof skin then becomes inflamed.
- Crumble hooves: When the hooves are too dry, they can start to crumble from the carrying edge. Insufficient movement or wearing irons for too long can also be a cause.
- Laminitis: Also called laminitis, an inflammation between the hoof wall and the coffin bone. The coffin bone is attached to the hoof wall by means of hoof flaps. When these lamellae become inflamed, this causes swelling, pressure and a lot of pain in the horse.
- White line disease: The white line is affected by a fungus and/or bacteria. In severe cases, this can lead to a loose hoof wall.
- Nail step: When a horse steps into something sharp with its hoof and the object penetrates the hoof, this is called nail step.
What to do with hoof problems
The horse’s hooves are congested every day, so it is of course important that they are and remain in good condition. Unfortunately, hoof problems are common in horses and it is important that you take good care of your horse’s hooves and always keep a close eye on them. But what should you do if your horse still has problems with its hooves?
- When your horse has pain in one of his feet, he will relieve it. It is recommended that you act appropriately immediately.
- Depending on the seriousness of the hoof problem, it is important to get help from an expert such as the vet or certified farrier. They will be able to properly diagnose the problem and determine the right treatment plan.
Preventing hoof problems
Good daily care, a healthy diet and regular check-ups by the farrier are the basis for maintaining healthy and strong hooves. But what else can you do to keep your horse’s hooves in optimal condition. We give you some tips:
- Prevent overweight: By keeping your horse or pony at a good weight, you prevent a heavier load on the hooves. In addition, being overweight can be a trigger for the development of laminitis.
- The right moisture balance: A horse’s hooves need enough moisture not to crumble. In the summer, hooves can dry out quickly and it is good to let your horse stand in the water regularly.
- Clean stable: Good hygiene in horses is of course important for the overall well-being of the horse. Prevent your horse from being in a wet or dirty stable for too long. Urine and manure contain ammonia which easily affects your horse’s hooves and can cause hoof problems such as rock blast. Provide good ground cover and manure (preferably every day) from the stable.
Extra support from within
In addition to all the above tips, extra support from the inside can contribute to reducing the risk of hoof problems in your horse or pony. Think of extra biotin, sulphur, vitamins such as B and C, methionine, sodium, selenium and zinc. All important building materials for maintaining healthy and strong hooves. The most frequently chosen supplements to support the hooves are:
Hoof Support helps to keep the horny structures healthy, makes the hooves less sensitive and supports the growth of healthy elastic new hoofs. It helps keep the hooves strong and healthy. In addition, this product is not only good for the hooves, but it also contributes to good quality of the skin and coat. It makes the coat shine again and ensures a nice deep colour! Especially for horses that need just a little more than extra biotin!
- Natural Silicon from bamboo. For strong hooves, bones and healthy cartilage. The mineral silicon, also known as silicic acid, is an important building block for cartilage and connective tissue. Silicon occurs in various natural sources such as bamboo.
- Biotin-MSM: contributes to the maintenance of healthy hooves, coat and skin. Biotin has a positive influence on the development of a protein called keratin. Keratin forms the basis of all kinds of things in a horse’s body, including skin, hair and hooves.
- MSM (a natural source of sulphur), is a connecting substance of collagen, the main component of cartilage, and ensures good blood circulation.