As the name hospital pad clearly suggests, these pads are used primarily in therapeutic situation, providing protection and support for an injured hoof. They can be particularly useful when providing follow-up care following a puncture wound or other damage to the sole.
What separates hospital pads from regular pads is a “port” in the pad that can be opened, allowing veterinarians, farriers or horse owners to check the progress of healing, apply medication and change medicated hoof packing, all without removing the shoe.
Hospital pads are similar to the hospital plates used in many therapeutic situations. But whereas hospital plates are usually rigid metal, and attached to the ground surface of a horseshoe, hospital pads are made from any of a variety of materials and are placed between the shoe and the foot. Hospital pads, therefore, may be a better choice than a hospital plate for a relatively minor injury, especially when the intention is for the horse to continue working. Hospital pads interfere with a horse’s gait much less than a hospital plate.
Commercial hospital pads come in a variety of sizes and materials. Some pads are made from aluminum, while others are available in materials such as plastic, rubber or urethane.
Some of the things to consider when choosing a hospital pad for a particular situation are the same things to consider in any pad choice.
Ask yourself what you want the pad to do. A stiffer pad may offer more sole support, but you…