Its Spring time!! Although it doesn’t look or feel like it. With this season, comes mud and fresh spring grass, and many hoof issues to go along with it! Thrush, white line disease, founder, are all common occurrences. Early detection
and taking steps to prevent them is the key.
Here are a few GENERAL facts and points to keep in mind this
Spring and ongoing.
WHITE LINE DISEASE (W.L.D) - Is a disease that
causes separation in the wall, may be seen first at the white line but actually
affects the zone of contact between the hard outer wall and the middle layer of
hoof tissue.The infection enters the hoof and eats away at sensitive tissues. Left untreated, W.L.D can result in rotation of the coffin bone due to widespread damage to the supportive structures in the hoof.
SIGNS OF W.L.D – An experienced farrier will be able to see it while trimming your horse’s feet.A flappy white line, usually at the toe, is a good indication of W.L.D. Another sign is a persistent toe crack that never
seems to go away.This doesn’t always indicate W.L.D, but is a common sign in some horses. A white and black chalky substance can be found in the
crack. This is deteriorated tissue that has already been
destroyed. Any horse can get this disease however, Club footed horses are a prime candidate due to the “dishy” foot causing stress cracks and allowing bacteria to enter.
TREATMENT- It is important to find out how severe it is.The hoof needs to be opened up to the point where disease ends and healthy hoof begins, this varies with each case.The farrier will then dig out any affected areas.W.L.D
thrives off a dark, moist environment.It is not always an ideal solution, especially for a show horse, to have their hoof resected..But the downfall of not treating it could be career ending.A trained eye can detect it early with minimal unsightly changes to the hoof wall and can be cleared up in a few
cycles. Depending on how far up the problem goes, will affect how long it will take to grow out. After the disease is dug out by a farrier, horse owners must be diligent in keeping the site clean and applying products such as: Kevin Bacon’s Hoof Solution, Thrush Buster, Koppertox, White Lightning. In severe cases, a
shoe may be required to help with support.
THRUSH - is a very common bacterial infection that occurs on the hoof of a
horse, specifically in the frog. Caused by wet, muddy, or unsanitary
conditions, such as an unclean stall — and grow best with low
Horses with deep clefts or narrow or contracted heels are more at-risk to develop thrush.
TREATMENT – Diligent cleaning of the hooves, with attention to the frog area. Applying thrush products regularly after cleaning.
The frog acts as a shock absorber and also pumps blood in and out of the hoof with every stride. Without a healthy frog, the hoof can become contracted.The frog sheds itself twice a year, which also contributes to thrush as the frog will have flaps for bacteria to get into. It is important for your horse to have regular visits with a farrier to properly clean out the frog and pare away any overgrown or loose parts as well as any interfering sole. This makes it easier for you to keep your horse’s foot clean and treat it as needed. We suggest using Kevin Bacon’s Hoof Solution, Thrush Buster, Koppertox, or any special home remedies that you have had success with.
LAMINITIS/FOUNDER- Is a common and very painful condition.Known technically as laminitis, founder occurs when there is inflammation of the lamina (folds of tissue connecting the coffin bone to the hoof wall). When there is inflammation and subsequently degeneration of the lamina, laminitis results. The damage may be so severe that the coffin bone is no longer supported within the hoof and rotates toward and sometimes through the sole. The classical case of founder involves an overweight pony (complete with cresty
neck) with a good appetite and access to lush pasture.
CAUSES - Access to excessive amounts of pasture,
hay, grain or pelleted feed.Also, systemic infection,
severe colic, trauma to the soles, excessive weight bearing on one limb after
SIGNS – Varies with the type of founder...In general, reluctant to move, and often leans back or shifts weight awkwardly in an attempt to take pressure off the painful areas of the hooves, horse often prefers to lay down. There may be a palpable increase in the pulse to the hooves, pain on compression of the
sole. Signs of chronic founder include:- Rings in the hoof wall, stretched white line between the hoof wall and sole, dropped soles, dished hooves with abnormal growth.
TREATMENT - The most important initially is to remove or treat the cause. This may involve dietary restrictions and removal of
any other relevant factors. Common ongoing treatment often consists of Anti inflammatory medication. It is also vital that corrective farriery be employed as specialized trimming and shoeing is often necessary. There are also several different padding options available.
Prevention is key to the common cases of founder. Ensure your
horse has exercise, regular farrier visits, an appropriate diet, and monitor
their body condition.
Helpful tips for your horses feet over the winter.
During our cold and unpredictable winters here in ontario, we deal with
snow, ice and mud, which can all be hazardous to your horse. There is a risk of
slipping, falling and hoof damage from the slippery, slick surfaces. Here are
some tips to keep your horse’s hooves healthy and safe during the winter
If at all possible, you may want to let your horse go barefoot
and take a break from shoes for a little while. A couple months without shoes
can give the horse a needed rest from his shoes. Make sure the horse’s show
schedule, hoof quality and health will allow for it if your not sure ask your
farrier for advice. You may also want to have the edges of the hoof wall
smoothed and sculpted a bit to decrease chances of chipping and cracking on the
If you decide to keep shoes on your horse, you may need
to put snow pads on as well. Without the pads, snow can build up under the shoes
and pack into balls, causing slipping, pressure and bruising on the soles, as
well as strain on tissue and ligaments. There are a few different types of snow
pads, rim pads that dont cover the whole soul so you can still pick the foot out
,or a bubble pad which covers the whole foot but protects the whole soul, after
application your farrier will then put silicone between the foot and the pad for
added comfort and to make sure nothing gets between the foot and pad.
Around here, since we tend to have icestorms and slick conditions, borium or
drive-in studs or even screw in corks might be a good idea on the bottoms of
shoes. This helps with traction and makes riding the horse safer for both the
rider and the horse.
Once things begin to thaw, mud becomes an issue. If
the conditions are extremely muddy, it’s a good idea to pick out the horse's
feet. This will minimize the chance of having a problem with thrush as it lets
the horse’s feet dry out, also horse's tend to shead there frogs over the winter
it is normal, you can apply kevin bacons hoof solution,coppertox or
thrush-buster a few times a week until thrush is gone.
Finally, it’s not
uncommon to stretch out the intervals in between shoeings as hoof growth slows
in the winter. It can even be extended by one to two weeks. Check with your
farrier to see if this will work for your horse
Thanks for reading,
Russ & Katie's Farrier Service (happy trails)