Cracked Hooves
 
 

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Cracked Hooves

This is a discussion on Cracked Hooves within the Horse Health forums, part of the Keeping and Caring for Horses category
  • What to saok a craked hoof
  • Mineral for cracked horse hoofs

 
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    07-26-2009, 07:42 PM
  #1
Weanling
Cracked Hooves

My rescue gelding, just in the last week, has gotten horrible, and I mean horrible, cracks and breaks in his hooves. They had only looked dry prior to that. My farrier is coming out this week, but I know I need to change something to improve this in his diet (which should be more than complete as it is). None of the others have this problem. I had been putting the hoof pine tar, I believe, on them because they just looked really dry the past month all until just now. I had also been putting sealent on them after that, but obviously he needs a supplement.

What do you all suggest? He is barefoot and pasture kept, rarely ridden and then on grass only. He is sound.

This photo is not him, I just found it online to give an idea of how bad it is
     
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    07-26-2009, 08:11 PM
  #2
Trained
Hi,
Yep, they're not real pretty, are they?? I agree that diet/nutrition are or at least have been a big factor. Those 'growth rings' indicate laminitis. What are you feeding him? How long have you had him? I would ensure he has a low sugar/starch diet(no grain, etc), gets constant access to low-grade hay and gets a *good* complete vit&min supp. In order to ensure his nutrition is well balanced - which depends on what he's getting out of feed & pasture too, a diet analysis program or service is well worth it, I believe(I'm a subscriber of a program/service called 'feedxl.com')

I wouldn't bother with pine tar & sealers & the likes, just ensure he gets a good soaking in water every day or 2 if you're in a really dry environment.

Trimming properly & regularly will make a big difference too - while the feet may still be weak for a while after diet changes, good trimming will remove the unhealthy stresses & allow the cracks to grow out. It's obvious that the feet are a little too long, but not so clear from that angle how severely (or otherwise) they're flared, high heeled, contracted, etc. Depending on those factors, the feet may need to be 'backed up' a fair bit too, and ensuring a strong 'mustang roll' looks like an absolute must. I would get the trimmer to show you how to do this, so you can keep it up in between trims.
     
    07-26-2009, 08:43 PM
  #3
Weanling
I just wanted to clarify that the photo is not my horse's hooves, but a photo I found online that look very similar to his to show how bad the cracking is.

We are in a fairly wet area; it is in West Virginia. We get a lot of rain.

I did not know rings indicate laminitis. I do think his hooves have similar rings, though farther apart than the horse's in the photo; however, since he is a rescue and has been starved, I cannot really change his diet to make it less nutritious. He is still under weight.

Thanks for your help! :)

Do rings always indicate laminitis? He has been seen by a vet and was labeled as sound only 4-5 months ago.
     
    07-26-2009, 09:29 PM
  #4
Yearling
I've been told by my vet that rings can indicate any "stress" especially a diet change or laminitis. My new horse had those surface cracks and the pre purchase vet and my home vet said it was due entirely to a mineral deficiency. If he's only on grass he needs a free choice loose equine specific mineral at all times. And a ration balancer would also be nice. I love ADM Stay Strong for easy keepers. Stay away from those pine tars and sealants (according to my vet and farrier)...they can throw the moisture balance way off by locking in or locking out moisture or dryness. Its better just to do a soak in ACV and warm water once a week.
     
    07-26-2009, 11:22 PM
  #5
Weanling
Thanks. I would imagine his rings are from a long term neglect situation, and I have no idea how long he had been sold for slaughter before his rescue. He was an Amish horse, so I doubt he ever over indluged in feed. He gets a grain mix, a mineral block and is on pasture 24/7, but it is a more sparse pasture - nothing rich; the pony/standard bred cross gets only a bit more than a handful of grain mix twice a day and is out with him constantly, and she looks great, hooves are fantastic, but I've had her longer, and she was always well cared for.

Glad to know the pine tar and sealants will not help. I just wonder if there is some supplement I can add to his feed to help.
     
    07-26-2009, 11:47 PM
  #6
Green Broke
STOP putting on topicals. Dry feet are okay. Putting on too much topicals can create problems, as his cracks have shown you.

Make sure he has as much turn out as possible (20 hours a day or more), in a dry pasture/turnout. Movement and dry ground will help stimulate hoof growth.

Get his diet more complete. I would give him free choice grass or timothy hay, alfalfa pellets (work up to 3-6 lbs a day, to put on weight), milled flax (I like NutraFlax from horsetech.com, shipping is free, good for feet and weight), and a complete vitamin/mineral supplement like Select II or Uckele Equi-Base Grass. You can add to that a hoof supplement, like BioFlax 20, Farrier's Formula, NextLevel Hoof Liquid, or have horsetech.com custom blend their BioFlax in with the NutraFlax (for a 4oz total serving).

Have your trimmer/farrier keep his feet trimmed short with a GOOD Mustang Roll on the edges. Specifically ask him to do a Mustang Roll, print out this article with photos:
New Page 11

Have him give you a rasp and show you how to touch up the feet if he chips or cracks between trimmings. But really, try to schedule trimming every 3-5 weeks, to keep those feet short and the roll fresh.
     
    07-27-2009, 01:38 AM
  #7
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by deineria    
I did not know rings indicate laminitis. I do think his hooves have similar rings, though farther apart than the horse's in the photo; however, since he is a rescue and has been starved, I cannot really change his diet to make it less nutritious. He is still under weight.
Yes, the lumpy rings indicate inflammation to the laminae. This is likely due to metabolic/feed related stress. If they are recurrent - more than the occasional one, it means the problem is ongoing, perhaps long term.

I agree, you def. Don't want to make his diet less nutritious. In fact mineral blocks provide little other than salt, so he really needs a good supp. Just make sure diet's low starch/sugar. Eg I wouldn't feed grain for a start. You can do some reading on equine nutrition sites to learn the detrimental effects of grain & sweet feeds. If you really feel the need to feed it for some reason, make sure you feed very small rations frequently - over at least 4 or more feeds per day. The bigger the meal, the more infrequently it's fed, the more likelihood of problems(& the less benefit they get from it anyway). Safer Grass - A Resource for Equine Forage Nutrition is a good place for diet/hoof related info.
     
    07-27-2009, 10:47 AM
  #8
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by deineria    
Thanks. I would imagine his rings are from a long term neglect situation, and I have no idea how long he had been sold for slaughter before his rescue. He was an Amish horse, so I doubt he ever over indluged in feed. He gets a grain mix, a mineral block and is on pasture 24/7, but it is a more sparse pasture - nothing rich; the pony/standard bred cross gets only a bit more than a handful of grain mix twice a day and is out with him constantly, and she looks great, hooves are fantastic, but I've had her longer, and she was always well cared for.

Glad to know the pine tar and sealants will not help. I just wonder if there is some supplement I can add to his feed to help.
The mineral block may or may not be the problem. Most of those "red blocks" are meant for cows not horses. And some horses won't sit there and lick a block. My horses will only eat loose minerals. I take one of those black rubber tubs and fill it with 15 lbs of loose minerals. They usually get through that in a few months...more in the summer when they sweat more I guess.
     
    07-27-2009, 08:46 PM
  #9
Weanling
I bought biotin today to add to his feed because I read some studies about it being very helpful to hoof health, and I thinking on working something economical out to feed instead of sweetfeed, but that is what ever horse owner I've ever known has fed in this area, and although I read many articles suggesting to steer away from it, I have a hard time leaving it off when so many horses I've known seem to do so well on it. . . Lol, but it seems some do not. I am just not sure. My 8 yr old Arab mare I purchased recently from Lexington has always been on a sweet feed and hay diet, and her coat, weight and feet are flawless, but something is clearly not working for this gelding, so I am looking to see what I can offer and leave the sweet feed off perhaps for him.

That is good to know about the salt blocks, though they seem to use them. I had started to buy the huge tubes pre filled at Tractor Supply in the past, so I will probably do that now.

What is a diet some of you use without grain or sweetfed for non working horses, keeping in mind he needs to gain some weight? I'd say he is a 4 on the body scale.
     
    07-27-2009, 10:35 PM
  #10
Green Broke
If you want economical, ask your feed store about Alfalfa pellets and a vitamin supplement. Balance II (from horse.com) is a very affordable vitamin supplement that will complete his diet. You can feed just 1/2 to 1 scoop (using a 3qt plastic feed scoop) of Alfalfa pellets a day for most horses (no riding or light riding, or minor weight gain). One 50 lb bag of alfalfa pellets will last one horse will last 14-25 days, depending on how much you feed. Just add a little water to make the powdered supplement stick.

My feed bill, getting more expensive vitamins and NutraFlax, runs $43 a month per horse. After this batch of NutraFlax runs out I will be either switching to plain whole flax or I will have horsetech.com custom blend me a multi-vitamin & minerals with their Flax product. Either way, I should save about $15 a month.

To get full nutrition for your horse out of sweet feed, most recommend feeding anywhere from 4 lbs to 8 lbs a day. That means your bag of sweet feed will last only 6 to 12 days, depending on how much you feed. And on top of that, many horses have to have hoof supplements and/or coat supplements, plus extras for weight gain like oil or weight builders. With my diet above, I don't need anything extra, so I end up saving quite a bit of money! (and my gelding WAS a hard keeper and my mare USED to have bad feet, NO MORE!!)
     

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