Advertise Follow Us
Considering that the hoof derives from skin, it isn’t surprising that dermatology might intrude periodically into the farrier’s professional territory. A farrier might notice a skin lesion on the lower limb or coronary band during a routine visit or might be asked for an opinion from an owner wondering about that weird thing showing up on the horse’s back.
But the problem is that while hoof comes from skin, the skin is not hoof. Although the most visible organ system in the body, skin can sometimes be the most mysterious.
“Different diseases on the skin can look exactly the same,” says Stephen White, DVM, DACVD, professor in the School of Veterinary Medicine at the University of California-Davis. “The skin has a limited repertoire in how it can respond.”
The skin’s limited number of responses to insult means tumors, auto-immune diseases, fungal diseases and alien invasion can all have similar appearances. With the exception of alien invasion, further testing can often help narrow down the cause of a skin lesion.
While diagnosis and treatment of skin conditions fall outside the farrier’s job description, a basic understanding of the structure and function of the skin and some of the things that can go awry may enable a farrier to…