This study presents evidence that the use of EPA approved copper-alloy horseshoes alone assists in the reduction of white line infection involvement in a high percentage of cases. Treatment has traditionally been to remove the affected area of the white line and treat with some form of antimicrobial topical [3,4]. In this study, the use of the copper-alloy horseshoes was associated with significantly less white line pathology with no topicals having to be applied and no infected areas removed.
The data suggests that if EPA approved copper-alloy horse shoes are used, there is no need for the horse owner to provide daily after-care of antimicrobial topicals as the horseshoe is continuously killing bacteria and fungus that come in contact with it thus providing an overall healthier foot. Laboratory testing has shown that copper-alloy has continuous and ongoing antibacterial action killing greater than 99.9% of bacteria within 2 hours [9,10,11,12]. A second way bacteria is killed is through a process of a galvanic reaction between two dissimilar metals, the copper in the horseshoe and the steel nails. This galvanic reaction generates copper salts that are leached out onto the sole of the hoof [17,18]. The leaching of copper salts makes an inhospitable environment for bacteria and fungi to live in [7,8,9,10]. Since application of antimicrobial topicals is not practical once covered by a horseshoe and its effectiveness comes into question, the ability to be able to apply and EPA approved copper-alloy horseshoe for providing long term proven.
It appears that the well known and proven antimicrobial effects of copper-alloy do apply to the application of copper-alloy horseshoes in reducing the microbial damage to the horses’ white line. Further benefit comes from the galvanic reaction that generates copper salts due to using a steel horseshoe nail in the copper-alloy horseshoe.
The author would like to acknowledge the following people for their contribution to this study: Meredith Manor International Equestrian Centre, Waverly, WV for the use of their facility and horses. John Crothers, APF, CF Meredith Manor Farrier Instructor for assisting with conducting the study, arranging for farriery and organizing the horses to be tested in the study. Richard Armentrout, APF-I, CJF-I for assisting the author in the study. Farrier Students – Michael Baker, Amanda Brzesinski, Mason Cardwell, Michael Ferrier, Jeremy McKuster, Allison Pfeffer, Easton Timko, and Linsey Wrabel for providing all the farrier services and qualitative measurement assessments. Kawell for providing all the necessary copper-alloy horseshoes for testing.
Horseshoes for this study were provided by Kawell who played no role in the research. The author was reimbursed travel, hotel and food costs to and from the testing site.
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