Managing Horse Hoof Wounds

Resolving hoof wounds requires cleaning them correctly, working with your vet to get them assessed, and carefully managing lesions until they heal. Learn about four common hoof wounds and how to manage them.
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Managing Horse Hoof Wounds
The key to resolving hoof wounds is cleaning them appropriately, relaying information about them to your veterinarian and getting them assessed, and managing the lesion carefully until it resolves. | Photo: iStock

Four types of hoof wounds and how to treat them

A horse’s hoof, with its solid exterior, can appear impenetrable to the uninitiated. But wounds do occur at various depths and severities in the hoof and surrounding tissues, and they can be challenging to treat. They lie close to the ground, with all its various contaminants, and the injured structures are constantly in motion. Key to resolving hoof wounds is cleaning them appropriately, relaying information about them to your veterinarian and getting them assessed, and managing the lesion carefully until it resolves. In some cases, not following the right protocol can mean long-term struggles with lameness.

Here are four types of hoof injuries and how to manage them.

But First: Clean and Examine

Upon discovering a hoof wound, the first step is to clean it enough to determine the extent of the injury. If the hoof capsule is intact or a puncture is not yet open, Andrew Parks, MA, Vet MB, MRCVS, Dipl. ACVS, head of the Department of Large Animal Medicine at the University of Georgia’s College of Veterinary Medicine, in Athens, suggests using a wire brush to remove debris

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Written by:

Nancy S. Loving, DVM, owns Loving Equine Clinic in Boulder, Colorado, and has a special interest in managing the care of sport horses. Her book, All Horse Systems Go, is a comprehensive veterinary care and conditioning resource in full color that covers all facets of horse care. She has also authored the books Go the Distance as a resource for endurance horse owners, Conformation and Performance, and First Aid for Horse and Rider in addition to many veterinary articles for both horse owner and professional audiences.

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