A horse is nothing without its hooves, and serious hoof problems may lead to a premature end to your beloved companion and friend. A variety of different problems can plague a horse’s hooves. Some of these conditions are minor, but others can be very serious and require expensive veterinary care. However, many hoof issues can be prevented with nutritional supplements containing biotin, gelatine, yeast and omega 3. One such supplement that has been recommended by veterinarians across the country is Fourhoof, which can be purchased online at a very affordable price.
When horses begin to show signs of going lame, the culprit is often one or more bruised hooves. These signs may become apparent while the horse is walking on even ground or only while on uneven surfaces with protruding rocks. Some bruises cannot be seen, but others appear as dark spots on the hoof. When applying pressure to these spots, the horse will show sensitivity.
Hoof bruises are very common and can occur when the horse steps on rocks or sharp protrusions on the ground. Horses have been bruised by walking on ice and packed snow, but sometimes, bruises occur simply from walking on flat surfaces that are too hard.
If bruising occurs, you will need to ice the affected hoof to slow the flow of blood, and a veterinarian may prescribe an anti-inflammatory medication to hasten the healing process. To prevent bruising, the horse’s hooves should be picked and cleaned daily, and they should be kept dry. In addition, eating the right foods and supplementing the horse’s diet may prevent its soles from thinning and becoming more susceptible to bruising.
When a horse’s hoof cracks, it can cause extreme pain, and the crack can lead to further issues down the road. Most cracks occur in the wall at the coronary band on the side of the hoof, but toe cracks are also possible. Cracks usually start on the inside of the hoof and work their way to the outside, which means that the horse could be feeling pain before the crack is visible.
Cracks are usually caused by trauma to the hoof. Trotting and galloping on hard surfaces may lead to cracking, and malnourishment can cause hoof walls to become thin or weak, making them susceptible to cracking.
Hoof cracks must be treated by a veterinarian. The vet will open the crack so that it can be disinfected, and it may have to be closed using wire, screws or staples that are reinforced with an acrylic patch. The horse will then have to wear special shoes to help relieve the pressure.
Abscesses in Hooves
Abscesses may occur without warning and are often discovered when horses display signs of severe and sudden lameness. In serious cases, the horse will not put any weight on the hoof and may refuse to move altogether. Abscesses may cause extreme pain, swelling in the leg and a racing heartbeat. Most of the time, the abscess is located inside the hoof and is not visible, but if left untreated, it could erupt through the hoof wall.
Abscesses are caused by bacterial infections in the lamina, and many times, they are the result of puncture wounds caused by stepping on sharp objects. Although this may occur while outside, it can also happen by stepping on misplaced nails or other objects on the barn floor.
A veterinarian treating an abscess will first drain it and then have the hoof cleaned. The hoof will then be soaked in warm water with epsom salt for additional cleaning and sterilization. Afterwards, the hoof will be bandaged, and the horse may be given medication to reduce inflammation and pain.
Nutritional Supplements for Hooves
Many hoof problems can be prevented by riding in mild, dry environments and through proper hoof trimming. The application of hoof dressings may also strengthen the hoof walls and keep them properly moisturized. However, the number one way to prevent problems with hooves is to ensure the horse is eating a healthy diet, which may require hoof supplements, such as Fourhoof.
Fourhoof contains biotin, which is a vitamin necessary for the growth of connective tissue and keratin in the hooves. In addition, omega 3, yeast and gelatine in the supplement will strengthen the horse’s hooves and improve its skin and coat.