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Q: What is the consensus among veterinarians regarding the treatment of bloody quarter cracks?
A: Most veterinarians tend to handle quarter cracks with a few basics in mind. We must try to figure out how a given crack was caused and attempt to work on the cause.
We must also explore and expose the defect to know its depth and direction and determine if it is infected. If so, we must treat the infection; if not, we must prevent contamination and subsequent infection with antiseptics and foot bandages.
We must stabilize the crack with staples, sutures or other devices. This can be tricky; one does not want to cover over actively inflamed tissue, so I wait until the underlying exposed lamellar tissues are conrnified before attempting a “closed repair.”
I have used Hoof Staples prior to that process (the crack is not covered and is accessible to local antiseptic treatment) to decrease motion at the crack site. Shoeing changes (usually a bar shoe) might be necessary to provide greater motion stability of the hoof wall.
Each horse with a bleeding quarter crack is different from the last or next horse. Complicating it further are the wishes and expectations of the horse owner or trainer. For example, the horse might be entered in the Belmont Stakes in 2 weeks and thus the treatment plan might have to be modified.
It is possible to create serious problems by attempting a repair prior to the inflamed tissues cornifying (abcessation…