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A Bloomington, Calif., farrier recently tried a treatment on a canker case that demonstrated promising results — but also some of the frustrating aspects of dealing with the hoof problem.
Pablo Calderon, a 25-year veteran shoer, provides hoof care for a large number of draft horses in his Southern California business. One of his clients recently rescued a 15-year-old, 17-hand Clydesdale-cross gelding.
The horse’s feet were overgrown and walking appeared painful for him. Upon inspection, Calderon discovered advanced canker in both fronts, as well as the left hind.
Canker is a disease defined as a chronic, hypertrophic moist podermatitis that usually affects the frog, bars and adjacent sole. It is often accompanied by a foul odor¹. While it is sometimes thought of as a disease that primarily affects draft horses, it occurs in just about any type of horse. It is difficult to treat and no one treatment has proven consistently successful². Extreme cases can result in the death or euthanization of a horse.
In this case, a veterinarian was called in, but had problems working with the horse because his feet were so painful, he didn’t want to stand on them, particularly when any of the feet were being held up for trimming or other treatment.