Diseases Diseases

About Hoof Diseases in Horses


Horses are beautiful and magnificent animals. They make great pets and are also involved in some sport activities, and many people love to take horseback rides as an extracurricular activity. As any living thing, horses can get illnesses and diseases. Their hooves are also susceptible to certain diseases. Some of the hoof diseases that horses can get are discussed here.

Common Hoof Diseases in Horses-Part I

Anyone that owns a horse is obligated to care for that horse. Caring for a horse does not just consist of giving it water and feeding it. There are some diseases that a horse’s hoof is susceptible to. The first hoof disease in horses that is quite common is called:

Brittle Hoof-This disease can be hereditary and is more common amongst certain ponies that are from certain areas. Smaller horses are more likely to get this hoof disease and it can also be caused by having their feet in water too often. Wet, mushy soil can also contribute to this Brittle Hoof Disease. If the hoof of the horse is abnormally hard, and it can it is pretty evident when someone tries to put shoes on the horse. Unsuitable shoeing of a horse can also cause Brittle Hoof Disease.

A second hoof disease that can be quite common in horses is:

Club Foot-Club Foot is generally a hereditary hoof disease in horses. This hoof disease can pretty much be determined by observing the angle of the hoof when the horse is walking. A good indication of club foot in a horse is when you notice the heel is much higher than the toe when their foot touches the ground. Although this disease is most often hereditary, it can also be cause by overworking a horse and not providing the animal with the proper rest required to avoid excessive stress on its legs and feet due to the animals’ weight.

Those are two hoof diseases that can have a crippling consequence for your horse. If you suspect that your horse is suffering from either of these hoof diseases it is important to consult a veterinarian.


Other Common Hoof Diseases in Horses-Part 2

There are other hoof diseases and disorders that can cause suffering for horses. Although these are also common, they are quite different than the first two diseases mentioned.

Spongy Hoof-This disease is opposite of the Brittle Hoof Disease mentioned earlier. It is common in horses that have their feet in constant wet conditions. It is more common in the larger species of horses and their feet are usually very flat. The horn on the hoof may appear mushy and shiny as if it has oil on it. For horses that may have this hoof disease it is not a good idea to make them travel long distances. Spongy Hoof can be crippling for your horse and this can be a long term condition.

Ribbed Hoof-This hoof disease is characterized by parallel ridges in the horn of the hoof. These ridges will go around the foot and run side by side, or parallel with one another. This is a condition that is considered to be physiological in character and anything that may cause more or less secretion of horn secretions can lead to this hoof disease. This is a fairly simple condition but it is important to do what you can do avoid the condition from worsening. Taking proper care of your horses hoofs should be used as a preventative measure.

These are not the only hoof diseases that horses can suffer from. They are more common than some of the other diseases. For more information about hoof diseases in horses, you may visit:  www.drsfostersmith.com/pic/article.cfm?aid=1582. 

Healthy hoofs are one of the best gifts you can give your horse. Consultation with a veterinarian is important should you suspect that your horse could be suffering from any hoof disease or other illness.

Tips and comments

Regular visits by your veterinarian is an important part of caring for your horse properly.

By Susan Hill, published at 03/21/2012
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