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HorseOfCourse 10-29-2009 10:18 PM

Hoof trouble
Today we had the farrier come out. She did my mare and the mule. While she was doing the mule, she said there is some hoof wall separation in one of her front hooves. She said we should soak it, and if it doesn't get better, we may have to take the hoof wall out and cast her foot.

Anybody have any information on this? Anything at all is greatly appreciated!

The mule is only 2 and a half.

barefoothooves 10-29-2009 10:33 PM

Sounds like White line disease. At 2.5 yrs age, that shouldn't be severe. Sounds more like either some chronic laminitis (diet related) or poor trimming. Resecting a hoof is pretty drastic and invasive, and I would reserve that for a last resort, rather than casually suggesting it, but perhaps I read more into it than there is about how it was mentioned.

Yes, disinfecting soaks are great-White Lightening or Clean trax would be super, if not, apple cider vinegar works well. If it persists, I would look into a need for a dietary and/trim style change for that particular animal before cutting that much hoof away.

rosetreader 10-29-2009 10:45 PM

As a professional farrier, I do NOT recommend re-secting the hoof wall. This method is out-dated and can cause all sorts of complications and requires protection over the re-sected area.

The seperation is caused by the hoof wall being too long and weight-bearing, causing it to leverage away from the laminae (the 'velcro-like' tissue that connects the wall). You might just be going too far between trims.

The wall needs shortened and rolled regularly to reduce the leverage.

As far as bacteria being suspect, bacteria doesn't cause this seperation, the seperation merely creates a gap for bacteria to live and correcting the length of the wall should clear it up. The hoof can be soaked in apple cider vinegar (nothing caustic like bleach, etc) if needed.

I hope you can convince your farrier to focus on preventing this in the first place, instead of acting drastically.

HorseOfCourse 10-29-2009 10:53 PM

Thanks guys.
The farrier will be back after 2 weeks of soaking the hoof to check on it. I think she was saying taking the wall out as a last resort..and I also think that maybe we should have her come out for the mule on more frequent visits than the others. I dont thinnks it's anything dietery because we have specialized feed that the elevator mixes for us, which has what they need and none of what they don't..
She was sceduled to go to training this spring..would you suggest holding this off?
Also..the farrier asked me if she acts normal, to which I replied yes because she has been. She still gallops and plays all day like she always has, and she kind of gave me a look like I was crazy..if that helps any

loosie 10-29-2009 10:58 PM

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Need more info & pref. hoof pix, of a variety of angles. Is your mule shod or bare(I hope not shod at that age at least)?

It depends on other factors as to whether the separation is likely to just grow out after soaking. I suspect that advice was because there is infection in the separation, so she wants you to soak in something that will kill it? That is one necessary treatment, as the infection will continue to eat into the laminae & undermine any good work in trimming & management that may otherwise help the hooves heal. BUT the infection didn't cause the separation & killing it won't fix it alone. Infections generally can't get into a hoof until it's weakened from other factors.

It is likely that the horse is, or at some stage has been laminitic, which has weakened the lamellar connections. This is most likely diet related, so ensure she gets a good, low sugar/starch diet & it's fed naturally(little & often). Good, balanced nutrition is also important in growing good hooves.

It is also likely that if the laminae became very 'stretched', if there is flaring, if the horse is shod, that at least part of the problem is that the hooves haven't been well enough trimmed and there is too much pressure on the(or parts of) hoof walls. Generally it's about the walls being too long in relation to the sole plane. This causes leverage forces to tear the hoof wall from the foot at every step. Unloading the walls is a necessary step, to allow healthy growth to come down, without being torn apart.

BTW, especially with mules & donks, they can retain a lot more sole than horses and it can be hard to tell healthy, live stuff from dead that can be exfoliated. Also they tend to grow high, straight heels a lot easier than most horses, and many farriers also believe they should be that way. That means that there may well be a lot more excess wall than is obvious, especially at the heels. High heels also force the animal onto it's toes, so there may be excess stress at that point for those reasons.

So... if she has already trimmed the horse in such a way as to remove the undue pressure from the walls, and you're certain the horse is not currently laminitic, soaking the hoof to kill infection and keeping the walls relieved with frequent good trimming should allow the separation to grow out. If what you/she means by 'take the hoof wall out' means that she hasn't yet unloaded it, &/or that she plans to 'resection' the wall, then I disagree with her approach & don't think that's a good idea.

loosie 10-29-2009 11:00 PM

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Oh, hi Barefoot! Thought I'd beaten you to this one, but I took too long in my reply!:lol:

...& Rosetreader! I must have taken a while replying if you all sent these posts while I was writing!

barefoothooves 10-29-2009 11:06 PM

Two weeks of soaking is not enough to base a resection descision on! Ditto to Loosie about how Mules tend to trick farriers with their angles, and while she may need a couple of more frequent trims to correct that, it's way too soon to judge how well the soaking and frequent trims helped.

Also, mules and donkeys *usually* need less frequent trimming compared to their horse pasturemates in the same exercise/feed/environment. Not always, but usually.

HorseOfCourse 10-30-2009 04:13 PM

Her hoofs seem to grow more upright than the others, especially her dams, who's grow quickly and in a plat shape.

loosie 10-31-2009 12:42 AM

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Originally Posted by HorseOfCourse (Post 444424)
Her hoofs seem to grow more upright than the others, especially her dams, who's grow quickly and in a plat shape.

Unfortunately this tells us nothing. We need pictures to know what you're dealing with, & to know what 'plat shape' is for eg. If you would like to take a variety of different angles of the hooves, inc side on & front on from ground level and sighting down the sole from the heel, we could give you some more specific opinions & advice.

HorseOfCourse 10-31-2009 12:30 PM

okay. as soon as i get back out there again [they live at my aunts house, im only 15] i will take as many pics as i can

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