Fixing brittle hooves
I read “Coping With Brittle Hooves” (Consultants, EQUUS 478) with interest. Bruce Connally, DVM, MS, is 100 percent correct: You cannot fix a brittle hoof with paint.
My Appaloosa gelding Cloud Dancer had hoof walls so thin and brittle they would not support a shoe, but that wasn’t his only problem. His skin was also very thin and prone to injury, and his coat was thin because his skin was so dry and itchy, he rubbed all the hair off of his chest and both flanks. I had just bought this beautiful gelding and was desperate to give the poor guy some relief. Our Texas summers can be brutal for a hot, sweaty horse even with lots of shade.
My veterinarian, Melissa Hubble, DVM, checked Dancer’s diet, which was good, and none of our other horses were having this issue. She also checked Dancer’s ancestry and discovered too much inbreeding---the same horses appeared too many times.
Dr. Hubble recommended a broadspectrum supplement with lots of biotin and other key elements for the skin and coat. It took almost a year for Dancer to grow a good hoof, but in the meantime his skin and hair improved tremendously. He is no long rubbing himself, and there are no bald spots. Dancer’s coat is a bright, shiny copper, and he has an excellent hoof. The only time I use a hoof dressing is to put a little moisture barrier on when it has been extremely dry. A good hoof comes from inside the horse. Lynda Edwards Montgomery, Texas