Nail in hoof. - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 05-23-2010, 02:23 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2010
Location: Los Angeles, CA
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Nail in hoof.

What a nightmare my guy is with his shoes!

Left him at 8:30pm last night right as rain, had a wonderful sound day and was looking great. Went back at 10am this morning and he'd lost a front shoe but the worst part was he had stepped on it with his back foot and it got stuck, the nail puncturing his foot! I have no idea how long he had been like this!

I pulled out the nail/shoe and it bled a little. Luckily the farrier was in the area and was able to swing by within 20 minutes to put the shoe back on. He looked at his foot and said it wasn't a serious issue and that he'd be fine. He removed some of the foot where he'd punctured it so that he wouldn't put weight on a sore area. It had long stopped bleeding when he arrived and he said it didn't puncture anything critical.

His foot looks OK but was definitely sore -- not surprising since he stepped on a nail! He could walk but when he stood still he would cock that leg to avoid putting pressure on the foot and really didn't want me to pick up the opposite hind foot.

I'm going to rest him tomorrow and Monday and probably just turn him out on Tuesday (vs usual hand walks) but I'm wondering if there is anything else I should be worried about or doing or looking out for? I bought him nice no-turn bell boots to wear in his stall to hopefully help prevent this from happening again and the ranch hands are aware to keep an eye on him.

Disclaimer: The point of this board is not for you to criticize the fact he lost another shoe -- I have another farrier coming out next time he is due for a second opinion and this horse is well cared for and has a nice, big, clean stall.
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Last edited by Deerly; 05-23-2010 at 02:25 AM. Reason: Attaching bath picture with cocked leg
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post #2 of 8 Old 05-23-2010, 02:54 AM
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SO........ Nails in the foot can be a very bad thing. There are a number of very important structures in the foot that can be damaged by a nail. The coffin bone, navicular bone, navicular bursa, coffin joint, and deep digital flexor tendon are all relatively near the surface.

It's all Dependant on the location, direction, and depth the nail penetrated as to what can occur. At the very least I would recommend soaking the foot in water, epsom salts, and a dilute betadine solution (weak tea color), to help draw out any inflammation and debris. I would also keep a protective bandage on the foot so he doesn't pack further debris/manure into the area the nail punctured, and he should get a tetanus if not current.

You should at least talk with your vet as he may recommend antibiotics to combat any potential infection. If he doesn't improve rather quickly I would recommend having your vet out to assess. Often times we will radiograph the foot after placing a contrast solution into the nail tract to determine what structures if any may be involved.

Sometimes the nail only impales the soft tissues of the heel bulbs, or submural structures of the sole. They can be quite sore for a day but should improve quickly with soaking and poultice bandages.
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post #3 of 8 Old 05-23-2010, 10:51 AM
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I agree totally with CMVET. Soak and wrap and watch closely.

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post #4 of 8 Old 05-23-2010, 12:29 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the advise! The farrier basically said that due to the depth and location he was fine and I didn't need to do anything but I'd always rather be safe than sorry!

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post #5 of 8 Old 05-23-2010, 04:27 PM
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Farriers, while often very knowledgeable and talented, are NOT medical professionals. We just had a horse in hospital for 2 weeks due to an infection from stepping on a nail. We almost lost her but she's finally turned around and we hope she'll be sound soon as well. Call your vet, please.
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post #6 of 8 Old 05-23-2010, 07:17 PM
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Agreed on everyone above - it can be a huge issue and I'd get the vet involved.
But don't lose hope, my boy stepped on a 3 inch straight nail, and out of sheer LUCK he was fine and took maybe 5-6 lame steps. Good things happen too, so don't freak out completely, but get it checked out for sure :)

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post #7 of 8 Old 05-23-2010, 08:52 PM
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First, I agree that stepping on a nail is very serious. If any of you have paid much attention to what the nails look like when a shoe is pulled you see that they are quite short and pretty blunt on the end from having the end clipped off and then clinched. It's not nearly as serious as if the horse had stepped on a carpenters nail.

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post #8 of 8 Old 05-24-2010, 01:08 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks again for all the replies. I soaked it today but he was not feeling good. There is no open visible "wound" but he's very sore and still cocking his leg and I'm thinking of having the vet come out just in case. He was such a PRO for the soaking. Let me pet his butt and just leaned into me patiently.

It is better than it hypothetically could be because I know it's his own nail (the shoe/pad was still attached to the nail) and it wasn't super deep and the farrier says it didn't hit any thing that could cause serious damage. I know farrier != vet but they should still know enough about feet to make a good estimation of damage from a puncture.

I'm actually fairly discouraged because his bad foot (nothing to do with the nail, it's what he's in rehab for) has been improving by leaps and bounds the past weeks and suddenly is causing a major limp again.

His "bad foot" is his right-front. Yesterday he lost his left-front shoe and stepped on the shoe-nail on his left-back foot. Can compensating for those things aggravate the opposite foot/lameness? He had two days over the past week that he seemed completely sound and today I didn't want to turn him out he was limping so badly.

Rest rest rest and get the vet to come out a few weeks earlier than planned

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