Attacking Canker With Frequent Debridement And Addressing Environment

California farrier’s case points to importance of every-other-day hoof-knife work and controlling housing factors

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.


Frequent trimming — at least every third day — is important.

Aggressive trimming is necessary. You need to get all the canker tissue and may need to dig around and look under healthy frog to find it.

Pay attention to how…

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Pat tearney

Pat Tearney

Pat Tearney is a long-term newspaper and magazine veteran writer and editor. Before retiring, he served for a number of years on the American Farriers Journal staff and continues to share his writing talents with our readers.

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