Topical Disinfectant And Proper Diet Overcome Persistent Hoof Wall Disease

Research finds that two-pronged approach delivers quick, lasting results for many horses

Many persistent hoof wall diseases fade away when treated with a combination of topical disinfectant and proper nutrition, according to a recent study.

Veterinarian Susan Kempson of the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, University of Edinburgh, at Edinburgh, Scotland, and farrier Ruaraidh Robb used topical disinfectant and a hoof-building diet during the year-long treatment of 23 horses with serious hoof problems. Kempson and Robb, writing in the Veterinary Record trade journal, report that 22 of the horses “improved greatly within 3 months of starting the hoof-care program.”

The researchers say the two-pronged approach to restoring hoof health is needed because both diet and microorganisms — bacteria and fungi — have been found to play a role in hoof wall diseases.

Kempson and Robb note that previous research demonstrates that a correctly balanced diet and supplementation program provides limited horn improvement if the wall is heavily infected with microorganisms. Likewise, they say, topical disinfectant can’t eliminate all infectious organisms from the hoof wall, so new horn growth is needed to overwhelm the residual infection.

Various Ailments Cured

The horses treated and studied by Kempson and Robb suffered from white line disease, thrush, abscesses, coronitis, crumbling horn and cracked walls.

Initially, topical disinfectant was applied to the hooves daily using a toothbrush to work the material into cracks and crevices. After the diseases were controlled, disinfectant was applied each time the hooves were dressed, rasped, trimmed or shod.

The active ingredients in the topical disinfectant were a poloxamer-iodine complex, ethylenediamine dihydriodide…

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