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Treating Hoof Cracks And Other Hoof Maladies

Cornell farrier offers primer on therapeutic cases


CLEANING THE CRACK. Before attempting to patch a hoof crack, the crack needs to be debrided of loose hoof and any debris must be cleaned from the crack.

Horses that have unbalanced hooves, coronary band damage or interference injuries are all susceptible to hoof cracks. Damage to the laminae from abscess tracts will predispose a hoof to crack. Hooves that are not trimmed or shod regularly can crack from the added stress of long hooves. In an adult horse, limb deformities or shoeing to attempt to change a limb deformity aggressively can crack hooves.

Treating Hoof Cracks

Treatment of a hoof crack depends on the amount of damage to the coronary corium and the maintenance of causative factors. Hoof cracks need to be debrided of loose hoof and debris must be cleaned from the crack. A bar shoe with clips on either side of the crack will help to stabilize the area. When the crack is dried and infection or drainage has been managed, the area can be strengthened with a patch.

Adhesives combined with polypropylene fibers are used to repair the area. After the shoe is in place, the clean, dry crack is filled with adhesive and covered with fiber saturated with adhesive. The patching of toe cracks is best done while the hoof is non-weight bearing. The curing of the adhesive while the hoof is non-weight bearing will minimize the chances of failure due to movement within the crack. 

Treatment Plate Shoes 

Treatment plate shoes are used in…

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Michael Wildenstein

Michael Wildenstein is one of only three people in the world to have passed the distinguished Fellow of the Worshipful Com­pany of Farriers examination in the United Kingdom with an “Honors” designation. He is the former adjunct associate professor of Farrier Medicine and Surgery in the Department of Clinical Sciences of the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University.

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