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Thursday January 27, 2022
Category: Essays For Horse Owners
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Inflammatory, here Infectious and Immune Diseases.

Subsolar Abscesses and Foot Infections

Subsolar infections are probably the most common hoof infections seen by people. They also are the most common cause of acute lameness in horses. Their incidence has no bearing on the age, ****** 100mg breed, sex or use of the horse. The most common cause is a penetrating wound in the sole, frog or white line generally caused by the horse stepping on a sharp object. Infections can also gain entry to the foot through hoof capsule defects such as sandcracks and white line separations, or pressure/traumatic injuries such as corns, sole bruises and lacerations.

Abscesses can fall into one of two groups: Group 1 abscesses are the result of shallow penetration of infection through the hoof capsule where infection is trapped between the horn and the corium. The build up of pus between the corium and the relatively rigid horn results in increased pressure within the foot, forcing pain and spread of infection along the line of least resistance. Group 2 abscesses are the result of infection penetrating into the deeper structures of the foot and are potentially far more serious. Penetration of the solar surface in the anterior third can result in infection of the corium and/or distal phalanx. Infections penetrating the middle third leads to the most serious abscesses and can result in infection of the deep flexor tendon, navicular bursa, navicular bone and possibly the distal interphalangeal joint. Penetration to the posterior third can result in chronic abscesses forming in the digital cushion, or infection spreading up to and involving the coronary band (gravel), or to the collateral cartillages. Pain associated with Group 2 abscesses is usually the result of infection and destruction of the deeper structures of the foot.

Septic Navicular Bursitis is the infection of the navicular bursa and most commonly occurs as a result of foreign body penetration through the middle, and sometimes palmar third of the solar surface of the foot.

Septic Arthritis of the Distal Interphalangeal Joint can occur as a result of foreign body penetration of the foot, as an extension of infection from the navicular bursa, or by iatrogenic introduction associated with spiration from or injection into the joint.

When dealing with an abscess, if an object is embedded in the hoof, leave it until the vet can get there. It is not the job of a farrier to open an abscess-it is the job of the vet. Call your vet first. As a matter of fact it is a surgical procedure and under state law is to be performed only by a vet.

Thrush is an infective condition of the frog and its sulci which results in degeneration of the horn and the production of foul smelling grey/black discharge. In severe or neglected cases the infection can spread to involve the underlying corium. The degeneration of the horn is due to infection with keratolytic bacteria and fungi and multiple organism infections are common. Predisposing causes of thrush include wet unhygienic stable conditions, poor routine foot care, prolonged confinement, overgrown ragged frogs, and long or high heels which produce deep sulci.

Canker is a chronic hypertrophic moist pododermatitis as a result of infection of the stratum germinativum. The nature of the infection is not fully understood, although a number of bacteria have been identifed in clinical cases none has been confirmed as the causal agent. The infection causes the production of rapidly growing, friable, filamentous fronds of horn. Canker usually starts in the frog region but, if it is not recognized or is left untreated, it can spread to involve the sole and wall. The condition is predisposed to by unhygienic stable condition and poor hoof care.

Hoof Wall Separations/ Seedy Toe. Is a term used to describes a hoof wall separation that occurs as a sequel to Laminitis. (I will cover Laminitis in a subsequent article.)

Additional Diseases Of the Foot

Nail Prick occurs at shoeing when a nail penetrates the sensitive structures of the foot. It happens most commonly if the horse is restless or fractious, the hoof wall is particularly thin or broken, the shoe is too small or the hoof has been dumped (see paragraph on Dumping below).

Nail Bind occurs when the nail of the shoe is driven close to, but not into the sensitive structures of the foot resulting in pressure and inflamation.

Overlowering of the Hoof Wall can cause varying degrees of lameness when the wall is trimmed too short, ie below the level of the sole and/or the live sole being reduced too thin. In these cases lameness is the result of the sole of the foot becoming weight bearing. If some cases, lameness may result from direct damage to the sensitive structures themslves during the trimming process. A horse should never walk off sore or gimpy after being shod or trimmed.

Sudden Changes in Hoof Length and/or Balance. Lameness can arise if an overgrown, neglected foot or a severely unbalanced foot is trimmed back to a normal length and balanced in one trimming. This results in a sudden change in stresses placed on the structures of the foot and the limb.

Dumping is a term given to excessive rasping of the outside of the hoof wall, usually at the toe, but it can extend all the way around the wall. It is most often done to make the foot fit a shoe which is too small, or in an attempt to try and trim back what is perceived as a overlong toe and is most commonly seen in the front feet. Dumping has several adverse affects. The cross-section area of the bearing surface of the hoof wall is reduced so the shoe will come to rest on the sole resulting in sole pressure, and the nail holes will invariably be inside the white line resulting in higher risk of nail bind and prick. If the dumping is excessive at the toe or has been present for a long period of time an apparent "Backward Rotation" of the distal phalanx can occur. On lateromedial radiographs of the foot the distal border of the distal phalanx slopes downwards at the heels. This results in stress on the dermal laminae at the heels.

Feet which have been markedly dumped have a characterstic "Bull Nose" appearance when viewed from the side. Another way is to lay a straight edge from the top of the hoof down, if the edge looses contact with the hoof wall you have some dumping. The straight edge should make contact to the bottom of the hoof. You can try it in the front of the hoof and at the quarters.

Corns are bruises of the sensitive corium and the sole at the angle between the wall and the bars ("the seat of corn"). They are most common in the medial angle of the front feet where the bars and wall come together at the heel.

Common causes of corns are: 1. Leaving a shoe on for too long a period so that as the foot grows the heel branches of the shoe are progressively pulled forward off the wall onto the sole. 2. Improper shoeing, particulaly if the shoe is fitted short and tight at the heels. 3. Excessive weight bearing at the heels, such as the horse with low heels or the addition of heel calks or studs to the shoe.

Bruised Soles are bruises in the sole other than at the "seat of the corn". They are more common in the front feet. Bruising is the result of direct trauma to the sole from stones or rough ground, a displaced or small shoe excessive paring of the sole, and dropped soles following laminitis predisposing the horse to bruising.

Selenium Poisoning (Toxicosis) causes damage to the hoof, and can be divided into three categories: acute, subacute and chronic.

Heel Avulsion, separation of the hoof wall at the heel. It is an uncommon injury that can seriously limit the athletic function of the horse.

Two diseases of the hoof that I did not touch on are:

Navicular Syndrome (Navicular Disease) and Laminitis, both of which will be separate articles at a later date.

May I suggest for follow up information on this subject that you go to and research the subject. You can find out the what, when and why of the subjects and the correct type of trimming and/or shoeing that will help with each problem.

The information for this article was taken from: "The Equine Manual" Dr. A.J. Higgins, Dr. I.M. Wright., "HorseOwners Guide to Lameness" Dr. Ted S. Stashak, "Equine Medicine and Surgery, Dr. Patrick Colaham, Dr. A.M. Meritt, Dr. J.N. Moore., "Lameness in Horses" Dr. O.R. Adams and The Farrier & Hoofcare Resource Center at, Baron Tayler

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