Demystifying Fungal Infections of the Equine Hoof

A journeyman farrier shares his insight into fungal foot infections that can compromise hoof health and cause lameness.
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Demystifying Fungal Infections of the Equine Hoof
The circular areas on the solar surface of this hoof are fungal colonies, which can erode the sole and cause lameness. | Photo courtesy Michael Wildenstein

Scientists estimate there are millions of fungal species in the world, some of which can cause a variety of diseases in humans and animals. Think ringworm and thrush. You might be aware that your horse is susceptible to fungal infections of the skin and respiratory system, but did you know fungi can also affect your horse’s hooves?

Journeyman farrier Mike Wildenstein, CJF, APF, FWCF (Hons), who was the resident farrier at Cornell University for two decades, recently spoke about fungal infections of the hoof at the 2020 Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners Symposium, held virtually.

Demystifying Fungal Infections of the Equine Hoof
Horse owners can treat many superficial fungal growths on the outer hoof wall with topical products, though veterinary diagnostics might be needed to determine if the infection goes deeper than the stratum externum. | Photo: Courtesy of Michael Wildenstein
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Stacy Pigott is a freelance writer based in Tucson, Arizona. For 25 years, Stacy served as editor for various equine publications in the Quarter Horse racing and Western performance horse industries. She currently works at the University of Arizona, where she is a public information officer covering health sciences news and research. She hopes to compete in eventing and jumping with her OTTB Nicky.

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