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Using a cross-sectional survey of 942 randomly selected horses in the Netherlands, Dutch researchers described hoof health and the most common disorders discovered during routine hoof trimming. Several management factors were also analyzed to identify potential risk factors for the hoof problems of interest.
Various farriers selected these horses during routine visits from those they had trimmed in the past that were regarded as healthy at the time of a routine hoof trimming. Only one horse per farm was selected for the study and the observations were made in the spring and summer months.
The average age of horses studied was 11 years, and most were used for recreational riding (28%) or dressage (27%). At least one hoof disorder was observed among 85% of the horses, with two disorders per horse on average. The disorders were most characterized as mild with thrush (45%), superficial hoof cracks (30%), growth rings (26%) and sole bruises (25%) most common. Full thickness cracks (16%), white line disease (18%), widening of the white line (12%), sand cracks (5%), signs of chronic laminitis (4%), quarter cracks (3%), keratomas (2%) and canker (1%) also were observed.
Poor horn quality was strongly associated with several disorders including white line disease and sole bruising. Widening of the white line was more common among older (>19 years) horses, those with longer trimming intervals, Friesians, and Welsh and Shetland ponies.
— Holzhauer M et al. Prev Vet 2017;in press
An experiment was conducted to…