Urine is softening hooves. Help? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 13 Old 08-06-2012, 03:41 PM Thread Starter
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Urine is softening hooves. Help?

Because I'm laid up at home, my DH met the farrier for his regularly scheduled appt. We have a somewhat unique problem and I know NOTHING about this and could use help.

Last Spring our 20 yr. Old OTTB developed Johnson Grass Poisoning and it paralyzed his bladder. It's stopped progressing and he isn't in pain, (the vet assures me he can't feel anything from his bladder) but he constantly dribbles, streams and drips urine. He cannot voluntarily pee, but when his bladder is full, it leaks out....which is almost all the time.

As you can imagine, it's a management problem keeping his lower legs urine free. We're constantly hosing him down, drying and coating with vaseline, desitin or anything else that will protect his skin. Meanwhile, our farrier told my DH that the urine is making his back hooves soft! What to do??? Usually we use hoof treatments to keep them from getting dry.
So what do you do to keep them from getting too soft?

Our vet has told us that it's just a matter of time. A sludge will build up in his bladder, he will begin to get bladder infections, and then we will put him down. For some reason, I never thought about the danger to his hind feet! He's a grand old guy and he's had a great life. I want him to be comfortable for as long as he can be kept comfortable. Any help would be appreciated. This is a new problem for me.

(There was Johnson grass in the hay our BO fed at the end of the winter.
Out of 23 horses, DB was the only one affected. )

I'm not a complete idiot--there are parts missing!

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post #2 of 13 Old 08-06-2012, 03:50 PM
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Urine and feces both (more so feces than urine) have been shown to deteriorate hoof tissues. The only thing I can think of is can you get him onto hard dry ground 24/7?? Is there lingering poo in his field? Can you get rid of all of that (bobcat or other) or at least where he stands mostly?

The only other thing is putting a coating on his hooves as well, like Vaseline, to keep them from having urine dripped on them?

Good luck!

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post #3 of 13 Old 08-06-2012, 07:21 PM
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HN, I'd suggest to ask your farrier about it as well. I remember using iodine solution to harden the hoofs (after the abscess) as well as pine tar when I had some cracking on wall. But I'm not sure either appropriate for you case.

Sorry about issues with the old boy! :(

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post #4 of 13 Old 08-06-2012, 09:52 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks everyone. I hadn't thought about vaseline because I thought that might make them even softer. He's in a dry, 13 acre pasture with 2 other horses 24/7.

I was hoping someone here had some experience with this (not that I'd wish it on anyone else) but I'll speak with our farrier.

DB has been an absolutely wonderful, non-typical OTTB. Rock solid on the trails, unflappable, easy to deal with. He has a quarter horse brain in a thoroughbred's body. 20 really isn't old but this is really dragging him down.

I'm not a complete idiot--there are parts missing!

What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.
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post #5 of 13 Old 08-06-2012, 10:00 PM
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How often are you hosing him off? Try no hosing daily, only a wrung out washcloth in a bucket to clean his legs and not wetting the hoof at all.

Another idea is you also might put some rubber bell boots on his back feet with some sort of fleece/absorbant top if the dribble is very frequent. You would have to change and wash them every day but it would keep his feet from being dripped on.

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Last edited by Trinity3205; 08-06-2012 at 10:02 PM.
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post #6 of 13 Old 08-06-2012, 10:15 PM
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You could try a good hoof sealer/hardner like Keratex. If used regularly it may keep the urine from soaking into the hoof wall and sole.
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post #7 of 13 Old 08-06-2012, 10:23 PM
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I'd also put bell boots on him in the rear to keep the urine from hitting his feet.
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post #8 of 13 Old 08-08-2012, 03:18 AM Thread Starter
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thanks everyone. I don't know WHY I didn't think of keratex, we have used it in the past, just not in a long time. Bell boots is another good idea.
Thanks again. I really appreciate it.

I'm not a complete idiot--there are parts missing!

What you have become is the price you paid to get what you used to want.
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post #9 of 13 Old 08-08-2012, 10:43 AM
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When a friend's horse developed these symptoms he had a monolith the size of a grapefruit. Considering his age there was only one option.
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post #10 of 13 Old 08-08-2012, 10:48 AM
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bell boots and keretex, I wouldnt use vasiline, I think that would make the problem worse.
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