Your Guide to Equine Health Care

‘Street Nails’: An Equine Emergency

Nails that have punctured the bottom of a horse’s hoof, sometimes called “street nails,” require careful veterinary inspection and treatment. Here’s what to know.

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Your veterinarian will likely perform radiographs to determine if the nail has damaged any of the deeper structures of the hoof, such as bones or tendons. | Photo: Photo: Courtesy of the University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine

By Jessie McAfoos, DVM, Equine Intern

Imagine your horse coming in from the field toe-touching lame, just hours after you turned him out, perfectly sound. You do not see any wounds on the limb, but there is a mild amount of heat and swelling present from the hoof to fetlock region. You lift the hoof to inspect for an abscess and, much to your horror and surprise you discover a nail protruding from the bottom of your horse’s hoof.

Do you:
A) Remove the nail immediately, soak the hoof, and administer a tetanus vaccine?
B) Remove the nail immediately and call your veterinarian?
C) Leave the nail in the hoof and call your veterinarian?


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