Therapeutic Uses for Copper Alloy Shoes

Farrier displays benefits of application with bacteria-killing properties

Copper-alloy horseshoes certainly make an impression when applied on a horse. Yet, they are much more than a pretty shoe, says Webster, N.Y., farrier Esco Buff.

In its purest form, copper simply is not suited for use as a horseshoe.

“I’ve put them on draft horses for weddings,” Buff told attendees at the 2017 International Hoof-Care Summit in Cincinnati, Ohio. “Usually by the time the wedding party is done, the copper — and I’m using 3/8-inch — is nearly worn all the way through.”

To be conducive, it’s necessary to alloy other metals with copper horseshoes.

“That gives it the strength, wear resistance, hardness, antimicrobial abilities, thermal conductivity and corrosion resistance — making it ideal for therapeutic uses,” says the Kawell Horseshoes clinician. “So, this is not necessarily a shoe that you would be using every day in your practice, because they run $25 to $35 a pair. It’s something that you would want to use more for therapeutic reasons.”

A significant amount of research has proven its efficacy in the prevention of infections.

Farrier Takeaways

Kawell’s copper-alloy horseshoes kill 99.9% of bacteria — the only product to gain approval from the Environmental Protection Agency for this purpose.

Copper alloy kills bacteria via direct contact and a galvanic reaction.

Copper alloy can be brazed or welded to a steel shoe.

Improvement from bacterial conditions can be seen after just one shoeing.

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] has acknowledged and tested 350 different variations of copper alloys,” Buff says. “Copper…

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Jeff cota 2023

Jeff Cota

Jeff Cota has been a writer, photographer and editor with newspapers and magazines for 30 years. A native of Maine, he is the editor of American Farriers Journal.

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