Preventing hoof disease - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 9 Old 06-11-2019, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
Green Broke
Join Date: Sep 2018
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Preventing hoof disease

So, the recent discussion of seedy toe, as well as my ongoing fear of thrush, has prompted me to ask if anyone has any recommendations for a hoof treatment that can be used daily or several times a week to try to prevent these sort of problems.

As I feared, my horses’ new pasture is indeed approaching “Apoopcalypse” level. Additionally, because of the way it’s set up, they’re walking through mud / water at least once and probably several times a day, so there is a wet/dry hoof cycle going on. And just in general, it's been quite muddy out there off and on for months.

Obviously I pick out their hooves whenever I’m out there, whether I ride or not, but I’m wondering if there is something I can put on their hoof / sole to try to prevent any bacterial or fungal disease from starting.
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post #2 of 9 Old 06-11-2019, 05:31 PM
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Alas, I've never found anything totally effective. I have, i believe, in... trying environments as I used to live, seen some improvement when ive soaked feet daily in a saturated solution(or actual slurry) of salt, which helps them dry out too.

And of course, keeping feet healthy trim wise & nutritionally helps reduce susceptibility. I haven't personally used it for long enough(was when horse had ulcers, fussy, wouldn't eat it) but there have been some promising studies on supping MSM for further reducing susceptibility.
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post #3 of 9 Old 06-11-2019, 05:40 PM Thread Starter
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They do get supplements for hooves, and the supplements do include MSM. I'm just super paranoid about their hooves, I guess. Trying to find a magic bullet that will stop all problems in their tracks...
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post #4 of 9 Old 06-11-2019, 06:30 PM
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With all the recent threads and material being presented on this forum I have been doing more research myself to make sure I am doing all I can too.
My horse, my older guy is a true hard keeper so trying to incorporate that into a really good feeding regime I recently came across this...
Maybe some of what is in this article you can use for your own horses and their hoof care when it talks about nutrition needed to build the healthy foot...
It was easy to understand too and a easy read...
There is so much printed media available from reliable resources today...happy reading.
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post #5 of 9 Old 06-11-2019, 06:30 PM
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I wish! Let me kno if you find it, because I haven't yet. Having lived in 'seedy central' - a generally warming but wettish climate, fields of lush, cattle fattening pasture everywhere you look(people thought me a weirdo for keeping my horses in eaten out paddocks & feeding native hay while all around was free grass)... I reckon the best 'preventative' is to move to a different environment!

...Which reminds me of something I heard... some goose preaching that climate change doesn't matter, that when sea levels rise, the low lying population only need to sell up & move to higher ground. Problem solved! Be hilarious if it wasn't so serious.

But seriously, I managed my horses feet pretty well in that 'cushy' environment, mine rarely had significant seedy, but I just could never ever let up. And many of my clients that weren't diligent about it had endless seedy(I could cut it out, but if their horses were in mush & they weren't treating for the 5 weeks between my visits...). Whereas after some months in this dry environment I've moved to, there was no sign of even the smallest seedy or thrush, and since then I've not found a skerick, with no special care.
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post #6 of 9 Old 06-11-2019, 07:28 PM
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Activated Oxine AH (chlorine dioxide) comes highly recommended as a soak. It is safe to use on raw, exposed tissues and is relatively affordable. I'm soaking my one horse with chronically troubled feet weekly for 20 minutes. Better frog health is quite noticeable. Hoof Armor may be worth a try. Forms an epoxy/kevlar, antimicrobial barrier on sole and frog. Pete's Goo is an effective mixture of 8 oz 40% zinc diaper rash cream and 2 tsp copper sulfate powder. Very effective and sticks to everything. Make sure diet is topped up with adequate copper and zinc.
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post #7 of 9 Old 06-12-2019, 01:54 AM
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I live in seedy toe central here in PA, I see lots and lots and lots of people with some nasty seedy toe problems. I'm assuming you're inquiring because you think one of your horses has seedy toe.

The best thing you could possibly do for prevention with a mud hole pasture is to keep your horse inside at night with a deep bedding of either kiln dried pine shavings, or kiln dried corn cob bedding to dry out those feet. However, this definitely isn't always possible depending on your setup.

If you're just looking for prevention on a pasture only setup, gelatin supplements can go a long way, and magnesium supplements can be a lifesaver on a foundered horse prone to hoof issues. Pick out all those tiny stones you see in the white line to make sure no abscesses form, and I like to use Farriers Fix just on the soles of their feet. It adds a small, short term protective barrier from all the poop and nasty stuff lurking in pastures. Pine tar and turpentine solutions are caustic enough to do the same thing, but its nasty stuff and stains the hell out of clothes... Ask me how I know that! Some horses can get sensitive with pine tar and turpentine on their frogs as well.

If you notice one of your horses gets a nasty, infected looking toe crack, (You'll know because the toe crack will be dark) get it CLEAN! If you're not comfortable hacking away at your horses hoof with a knife and nippers, which is totally understandable, then use something rigid and thin to pick out every ounce of dirt possible. Screwdrivers, O Ring picks and scratch awls all work great for this. If some hoof wall flakes off in the process, don't worry about it. Its better to let it fall off than to trap dirt.

Wire brush the daylights out of his foot. You can get little welders toothbrushes at any hardware store and they work at treat. Once the cavity is clean as you can get it, my two favourite remedies are Keratex hoof putty or copper sulfate crystals with hoof packing.

The Keratex stuff is just medicated paraffin wax. Its absolutely divine, if you can get it out! You may need to employ a hot forge or a stove top to melt the wax before pouring it on, but if you get it in there it should last for a few days. It creates a great barrier so moisture and dirt can't just make their way back in.

If you can't melt the keratex wax, which is a fairly common problem, you can get some copper sulfate crystals, pour them into the cavity, and then seal them in with a hoof packing of choice. Lots of people like magic cushion, but I find Forshners stays in a bare foot better. If you don't mind the drying time, I've heard of people using silicone caulking too! You just want to keep the poop out, and the medication in. This method would likely have to be redone daily if not twice daily depending on how soupy your pastures are.
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post #8 of 9 Old 06-12-2019, 07:21 AM
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Well, all the barefoot gurus I know say it over and over... good hooves start with good nutrition. Mine walk through mud several times a day too (but they also have dry areas, luckily, and a lot of varied terrain to walk over). None have thrush or seedy toe - at least they haven't developed it yet. I don't think the wet/dry cycle is a problem.

You say they're getting hoof supplements, but what are they getting exactly? It isn't enough to just add a ration balancer. You need to get the right ratios of minerals for them to be effective, and it needs to be adapted to their needs. For that reason, you should start with a hay and pasture analysis to find out what is already in your soil. Ours has extremely high levels of iron, for example, so the last thing I want is to feed anything containing iron because it can mess up their absorption of other minerals (this includes the iron found in salt licks). Also, find out how much, if any, selenium is in your soil. Your local Dept of Agriculture should be able to tell you (ours is selenium-deficient). Take this information to an equine nutritionist that doesn't work for a feed company. Add whatever else you are feeding to it as well so they can factor in other minerals.

Then add the minerals to your horse's feed. I like to add mine to beet pulp and timothy-only hay cubes (my nutritionist is on an anti-alfalfa kick at the moment). The simpler the diet, the better in my view. A few companies sell straight minerals. I like Mad Barn. Again, I'm not an equine nutritionist, and you should consult your own nutritionist or do the research yourself from reputable websites, but I do know that ratios are very important -- so just adding minerals isn't enough. Done the way I do it, it's no more expensive because you only give what they need, no fillers. My older gelding also gets camelina oil and turmeric with black pepper as an anti-inflammatory. The other two get flax seed when they're not on pasture for the omega oils.
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post #9 of 9 Old 06-12-2019, 08:45 AM
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Pete Ramey used to recommend weekly soakings of 30 minutes with a dilute solution, 2 ounces per gallon of water, of concentrated Lysol.

Claimed to have used that on thousands of horses with positive results and no ill effects.

He no longer mentions Lysol in any of his articles I've read but does favor the Oxine AH already mentioned. At 4 ounces per gallon of water it's not expensive at all. I use a close fitting soak boot which reduces the amount needed plus the horse can walk around in a confined area while soaking so it makes it really convenient time wise.

When the boots are pulled off one can get a really good look at a clean foot to see if anything is going on.

That's one routine preventive option.

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