Managing Club Feet in Adolescent Horses

Recognizing and treating club feet in young horses can help them succeed in their intended discipline and, ultimately, prevent lifelong hoof complications.

club feet in adolescent horses
Be proactive with club-footed adolescents and treat cases before permanent changes occur. | Photo: Courtesy Stephen E. O'Grady

Recognizing and treating hoof conditions, such as club feet, in adolescent horses helps them succeed in their intended discipline and, ultimately, prevent lifelong foot complications. This was the take-home message Craig Lesser, DVM, CF, of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, in Lexington, Kentucky, delivered at the 2018 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 1-5 in San Francisco, California.

Club feet can be noticeable in foals within a few days of life, but they can also develop later on. In cases involving adolescent horses, a variety—and usually multiple—factors contribute to club foot development, such as contracted tendons, pain associated with rapid growth, and a disproportionate rate of tendon and bone growth, among others.

Veterinarians and farriers grade club feet on a four-point scale based on their severity (1 being mild and 4 being

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Written by:

Stacey Oke, MSc, DVM, is a practicing veterinarian and freelance medical writer and editor. She is interested in both large and small animals, as well as complementary and alternative medicine. Since 2005, she’s worked as a research consultant for nutritional supplement companies, assisted physicians and veterinarians in publishing research articles and textbooks, and written for a number of educational magazines and websites.

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