muddy feet
   

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muddy feet

This is a discussion on muddy feet within the Hoof Care forums, part of the Horse Health category
  • Pony with muddy feet
  • Why do hoofs go soft in muddy field

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    12-18-2011, 02:07 AM
  #1
Foal
muddy feet

The field in which my horses are in is very muddy, im wanting to know is it ok to put hoof oil on hooves straight after washing them? Plus what problems can arise with muddy feet. Thanks
     
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    12-18-2011, 02:49 AM
  #2
Weanling
As far as I'm concerned, hoof oil doesn't really do anything, its about as useful as putting oil on your fingernails. Sure it looks good and shiny, but its not a moisturizer or anything. I have heard some say that it actually counters moisture, which I suppose would be good on a healthy hoof in wet conditions. I wouldn't use it more than three times a week though. I wouldnt put it directly on a wet hoof, towel drying them first will keep the oil from runing off from excess water.

Very wet/muddy conditions can cause thrush, where the sole becomes infected with bactiera which eat at the skin. It can be quite dangerous if left untreated. The easiest way to prevent it is regular hoof cleaning and keep the hooves well trimmed to prevent excess build up. The most notable signs of thrush are sofening of the sole, foul odour, and a black "goo" in sulcus (grooves of the frog).

Another thing to watch for is mud fever (aka: Scratches, grease heel, rain scald, rain rot) which is a bacterial or fungal infection which commonly affects the heel, fetlock and pastern. It causes scabs, swelling and pain. If it is caused by a fungus it is very contageous. The first signs are small scabs and or hair loss. The best prevention is clipping long fetlocks to prevent excess mud/moisture build up and to throughly wash and dry the legs regularly.

Always make sure to be exceptionally careful of small cuts or open sores on horses in muddy conditions as the mud is a breeding cround for infection. Always throughly disinfect and coat even the smallest of sores with thick salve to reduce the risk of infection and further irritation.
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    12-18-2011, 02:54 AM
  #3
Weanling
It's actually very important to oil the hoofs in the winter to reduce the amount of water that get absorbed into the hoof. Just like your nails get soft when you have them in water for too long so do the horses feet.

In winter try to get some time for the feet to dry and once dry oil them. In summer oil does the opposite and prevents the moisture escaping. Keeping the moisture balance is as important as keeping the feet trimmed.
     
    12-18-2011, 03:32 AM
  #4
Foal
Thanks for the advice, going to buy a hosepipe to wash the mud off there feet before putting them in there stables each night, what product would you recommend I buy to put on there hooves and also should I be spraying there frogs with anything??
     
    12-18-2011, 03:54 AM
  #5
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tnavas    
It's actually very important to oil the hoofs in the winter to reduce the amount of water that get absorbed into the hoof. Just like your nails get soft when you have them in water for too long so do the horses feet.

In winter try to get some time for the feet to dry and once dry oil them. In summer oil does the opposite and prevents the moisture escaping. Keeping the moisture balance is as important as keeping the feet trimmed.
I have never used oil on my horses hooves, nor does the owner of the stable where I keep my horse. Every single one (other than his two stallions) of his and boarded horses spend 24/7 outdoors, rain or shine, dust or mud. None of them (save the perhaps some of the borded ones) ever get oil or any other sort of hoof treatment other than regular farrier visits and emergency care.

Horses feet are desined to be self maintaining, so fussing and fauning really doesnt help unless you know your horse is prone to a problem and you are doing a preventitive measure (even then, topical treatments should be a backup for feed supliments which will have a far greater effect on the foof itself and overall health). The only thing a healthy hoof should need is a good trim when they grow out and regular cleaning.
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    12-18-2011, 01:41 PM
  #6
Foal
Masatisan - I have so many questions for you, as you seem to have lots of experience and advice on this topic. I'm interested because my mare lives similarly to how you described your horses below. Outside, 24/7, with a large run in, three large hay bale feeders that are covered by a roof; however, I've had issues with thrush this fall. This can probably be attributed to how warm and wet it's been.

Quote:
Originally Posted by masatisan    
I have heard some say that it actually counters moisture, which I suppose would be good on a healthy hoof in wet conditions.

Another thing to watch for is mud fever (aka: Scratches, grease heel, rain scald, rain rot) ... The best prevention is clipping long fetlocks to prevent excess mud/moisture build up and to throughly wash and dry the legs regularly.

Always make sure to be exceptionally careful of small cuts or open sores on horses in muddy conditions as the mud is a breeding cround for infection. Always throughly disinfect and coat even the smallest of sores with thick salve to reduce the risk of infection and further irritation.
1) Above, you mentioned hoof oil might be good on a healthy hoof in wet conditions. Considering she currently has thrush, using hoof oil probably wouldn't help the situation right?

2) I don't think I have a situation with scratches, but referring to the comment about the fetlocks, I do want to ask: I read once that the fetlocks are the horse's natural way of keeping water off the pastern and heel because the water runs down the leg and drips off the fetlocks instead of down the heel. So, I've always left her fetlocks alone, but I'm wondering if what I read was un-founded. Perhaps that was only referring to wet conditions, as opposed to muddy, where cutting the fetlock would mean less mud build-up.

3) You said to thoroughly disinfect and coat sores with salve. Do have any product recommendations? Just for future FYI.

Quote:
Originally Posted by masatisan    
I have never used oil on my horses hooves, nor does the owner of the stable where I keep my horse. Every single one (other than his two stallions) of his and boarded horses spend 24/7 outdoors, rain or shine, dust or mud. None of them (save the perhaps some of the borded ones) ever get oil or any other sort of hoof treatment other than regular farrier visits and emergency care.

Horses feet are desined to be self maintaining, so fussing and fauning really doesnt help unless you know your horse is prone to a problem and you are doing a preventitive measure (even then, topical treatments should be a backup for feed supliments which will have a far greater effect on the foof itself and overall health). The only thing a healthy hoof should need is a good trim when they grow out and regular cleaning.
Have you had issues with thrush? If not, how do you keep it at bay? You said regular cleaning, how regular?

For the most part, I don't typically fuss over her (it wouldn't seem like it from this post, would it?) I just can't help quizzing a good resource for future reference. Thanks for your time!
     
    12-18-2011, 04:46 PM
  #7
Weanling
Quote:
Originally Posted by masatisan    
I have never used oil on my horses hooves, nor does the owner of the stable where I keep my horse. Every single one (other than his two stallions) of his and boarded horses spend 24/7 outdoors, rain or shine, dust or mud. None of them (save the perhaps some of the borded ones) ever get oil or any other sort of hoof treatment other than regular farrier visits and emergency care.

Horses feet are desined to be self maintaining, so fussing and fauning really doesnt help unless you know your horse is prone to a problem and you are doing a preventitive measure (even then, topical treatments should be a backup for feed supliments which will have a far greater effect on the foof itself and overall health). The only thing a healthy hoof should need is a good trim when they grow out and regular cleaning.
in the wild this may be the case but the moment you fence in a horse you remove all its natural lifestyle - it can no longer get out of the muddy ground so the feet get saturated in water and too much water leads to very soft feet and soles and then the stronger possibility of foot problems, thrush, abscess, splits and chips. Think how much easier it is to trim your own toe nails if you have soaked your feet in the bath first. Soft horn damages more easily.

In summer grass dries up and there is limited exposure to sufficient water to keep hoofs pliable. Many farriers & trimmers rasp far to much of the periople from the wall of the feet - removing the protective covering. Oiling replaces this.

I've had horses of my own and worked with horses for over 40 years and all have been oiled daily. Racehorses and school ponies. Stabled horses twice daily and they had the toughest feet of all as they worked mainly on the roads during the week. At least an hours steady trotting on tar seal five days a week.

My horses are currently barefoot - they get oiled daily, two have excellent feet but the filly has real TB feet, weak and prone to abscess. Shortly the Clydesdale will be shod as in the new year she will be under saddle, she slips too much without shoes. Most Clydesdale have horrible shaped feet - but not mine, perfectly circular in front and slightly oval behind, text book frog and never been lame in her 8˝years.

Re Mud fever etc - it is certainly not necessary to clip out or wash legs - it is this that tends to encourage the skin to weaken and be a breeding ground for mudfever.

Don't brush wet mud, allow legs to dry naturally and brush dried mud off in the morning. Work wise the horse is not going to stress if it's legs are muddy. If there are any symptoms of Mudfever and related infections wash the area with Nizoral shampoo, wash well beyond the affected area. Mudfever, Greasy heel, Rain scald/rot all start initially with a fungal infection of the skin. Treat this first and foremost and rarely will the infection get worse. Leave scabs alone - picking off makes them bleed and allows bacteria to get in. You buy the Nizoral from a pharmacy, dilute with hand hot water lather up well and then leave to dry. Washing with an old face cloth will dislodge any scabs that the Nizoral has broken down. Allow to dry without rinsing.

To prevent mudfever feed a supplement that contains copper and zinc - both required for strong healthy skin. To help reduce the possibility start applying liquid parafin (aka BAby Oil) to the hair weekly work well in. This will disperse water more easily.
     
    12-18-2011, 05:13 PM
  #8
Foal
Tnavas - This is super helpful, even though I'm not original poster. Very interesting! Do you have any recommended supplements for copper and zinc (I can easily search this, but if you've had success with something I would trust that more) I'm guessing the moisture from the baby oil won't hurt anything. Also, this relates to a question I asked earlier, but do you oil hooves throughout winter? Would you oil even though thrush is present?
     
    12-18-2011, 05:21 PM
  #9
Green Broke
Tnavas, the hoof oil people must love you!

I don't have as much experience as you do (around 18 years) but I never use hoof oil. Just never seen the need for it. Now I will use thrush treatments as a preventative when the horses are stuck in muddy conditions, but I just have never seen the need for hoof oil (unless it has something in it to kill thrush).

So I dunno, we use what works for each of us I guess!
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    12-18-2011, 06:17 PM
  #10
Weanling
Trail rider - my own horse has only ever had thrush once as a foal. During a spell of high humidity. I've only ever worked with one horse that has had thrush besides that. TBH I think people think their horse has thrush when what they are finding is just dirt mixed with natural horse grease trapped in the foot.

Thrush stinks like diarrohea dog poo! Sorry to be so discriptive! If it doesn't smell disgusting then it isn't thrush.

The best treatment is wash with an anti fungal shampoo, scrubbing foot out well, allow foot to dry and squirt hydrogen peroxide in the crevasses around the frog.
     

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