Recurrent Solar Abscesses Result From Keratoma

Vermont farrier and equine veterinarian resolve Quarter Horse’s 4-year struggle with lameness

Farrier Takeaways

  • Keratoma is a benign keratin mass that is cylindrical or spherical in shape.
  • Keratomas tend to present with recurring abscessing and lameness as a result of cornified tissue on the solar surface in the dorsal aspect of the hoof.
  • The surgical site requires management at each trim to remove potential bacteria.
  • Hoof wall distortion around the surgical defect was left intact to act as protection.
  • After stall rest, the horse was shod to support the back of the foot and encourage frog stimulation and digital cushion support.

Complete surgical removal of a solar keratoma in the right front foot of a 14-year-old Quarter Horse, followed up with daily hoof saline flushes and supportive shoeing packages, resulted in a high rate of success in the horse’s long-term soundness.

A keratoma is a soft tissue growth often found between the hoof wall and the distal phalanx most likely originating from the epidermal cells of the hoof.1 Keratomas contain keratin and are benign masses.1 Cylindrical and spherical in shape, keratomas are often found on the solar surface in the dorsal aspect of the hoof around the toe pillar regions.1,2

Keratoma tends to present with recurring abscessing and lameness as a result of cornified tissue occupying space in the hoof wall and disrupting the health of the distal phalanx (Figure 1).3

Diagnosis can be achieved via observation of radiographic changes to the distal phalanx.3 Surgical removal of the cornified tissue and management of the compromised hoof should resolve the…

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Deanna Stoppler

Deanna Stoppler operates Horse and Sole Hoof Care in Underhill, Vt.

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