DE­COD­ING HOOF CRACKS

EQUUS - - Eq Handson -

Q:or For the an­swer, turn to page 25.

a. b. c. d.

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Any de­fect in a hoof wall is cause for con­cern. The ac­tion re­quired, how­ever, de­pends on the na­ture of the crack. Here is a list of hoof crack de­scrip­tions ranked---gen­er­ally speak­ing---from least to most wor­ri­some:

• Small, ver­ti­cal cracks that start at ground level and ex­tend up­ward an inch or less. These will typ­i­cally be re­solved with the next far­rier visit and re­quire no fur­ther ac­tion.

• Hor­i­zon­tal cracks an inch or less wide that orig­i­nate at the coro­nary band and grow down­ward as the hoof does. Cracks like this are typ­i­cally as­so­ci­ated with a mi­nor, healed trauma to the coro­nary band that briefly in­ter­rupted hoof pro­duc­tion. As the hoof grows out, the crack mi­grates down­ward to even­tu­ally grow out en­tirely. Chances are no in­ter­ven­tion will be needed dur­ing this process.

• Ver­ti­cal cracks at the bot­tom of the hoof that con­tinue around the bot­tom of the foot to af­fect the sole. You’ll need to pick up the hoof and per­haps clean it a bit to look for this. If the crack ap­pears to in­volve any struc­tures other than the hoof wall, it could be­come a more sig­nif­i­cant is­sue. Men­tion this to your far­rier and vet­eri­nar­ian and keep a close watch out for signs that it may be more than just a su­per­fi­cial de­fect.

• Long, per­sis­tent ver­ti­cal cracks.

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