Bandaging a Horse’s Hoof
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Bandaging a Horse’s Hoof

October 24, 2019

I’m Devin Catalano and I’m an Animal Science Master student at the University of Minnesota. And this is Belle. She’s one of the teaching mares at the university. I’m Dr. Kerry Kuhle from the
University of Minnesota West Metro Equine Practice. The most common reason why we need to bandage a foot is for a stone bruise or hoof abscess or sub-solar abscess. And there is a couple different materials we’ve got here. One is a poultice pad. These will come either in a sheet or they can come precut in the shape of a hoof. I find the sheet is more economical. You can usually get, depending on the size of the foot anywhere from 4-6 applications out of 1 these. I’ve got one that is already precut here. The thing to note is that there is a shiny side and a dull side. And when we apply this to the horse we put the dull side towards the bottom of the foot. We’ll also use diapers. A variety of sizes. This is a size 1 for little tiny babies or little tiny pony feet. And this is a size 5 for bigger feet. And they come anywhere in between. And then lastly we will put duct tape on as an outer layer. This is just a piece of Styrofoam insulation that you can get at your local hardware store. We use foam insulation to make foot pad. And then we can just apply that to the foot directly when we’ve got a horse that has very sore feet usually from laminitis. So an easy way to apply duct tape to the outer layer of a foot bandage which not only secures it but makes it waterproof is to make a grid. So we are going to take strips of our duct tape. Just a flat surface is all you need. One word of caution, duct tape takes paint off so don’t do this on the hood of your car. I do a basket weave pattern. where I’m just overlapping by 50%. I usually start a little bit big then we can cut it down to fit Belle’s foot. I probably waste a little bit of tape that way but it’s easier than having one that is too small. So the finished product will look like this. What I like to do with it is to cut… For the 4 corners I make a cut in towards the center and this makes it easier to fold the corners in. Just like wrapping a present. We are going to apply our foot bandage now. So I’ve taken our poultice that we’ve precut into a square. And I have soaked it in cold water. You can just use a hose or dunk it in a bucket of clean water and then squeeze out the excess remembering to put the dull side, not the shiny side towards the horse’s foot. Now I’m going to bring my diaper with me We’ll put this all on in one move. So we’ll put this over the sole of the foot. If you know where the abscess is located you may want to make sure that this covers that particular spot or if there is a target area that you suspect is where your abscess is located make sure you get good poultice contact there. Then I take the diaper with the tabs toward the heel bulbs and then just like diapering a baby We’ll secure it with the tabs. One thing to remember when your applying a foot bandage is that when you have the foot flexed like this you can get the material too tight against the front or dorsal aspect of the coronary band. We always want to be, again, aware that we’re not applying anything too tightly to the foot. So she can rest that. And we’ll apply a layer of Vetrap™. Some people skip this part they just go right to the duct tape. I like the Vetrap™ because, I think, it secures my poultice against the sole of the foot. It makes the diaper just a little bit tighter. And she’s being very good. You may need to actually stand up and hold the leg between your knees like the farrier would. So I very loosely apply my Vetrap™. And you can just see I’m tucking. So I’m very loosely applying the Vetrap™ and you don’t need to use the whole roll. And now I check to make sure that it’s not too tight over the coronary band. You want to be able to get your two fingers in here. Some people worry about wrapping up above the coronary band and they should worry because you don’t want to put any pressure on that very sensitive anatomy. With everything being nice and loose I can get a good cover on the entire foot. And then I can just trim this down. So the last thing we’ll do is apply our duct tape. Make sure you dust off that. I try to land her square in the middle and then just like wrapping a present I bring my corners down, and then I do the toe and the sides. And what the duct tape provides is a water proof layer and some stability. And then again if she’s got a hoof abscess we are going to have her in a well bedded stall with lots of shavings. So I’m going to come back. You could use duct tape for this but I prefer to use my Elastikon and my unrolled and rerolled so that I don’t have any tension on the tape. The only purpose for this is to keep shavings out of the wrap. I’m just going to again lightly lay that over the top with no tension. A couple of last thoughts about the foot bandage. Typically we are going to leave these on for 24 hours take them off look at the foot and reapply. The poultice pad that we put on may be used in addition to soaking or in lieu of soaking. There are some alternatives you can use to a poultice pad such as a MagnaPaste type of product, or people will mix Epsom salts with iodine or sugar with iodine. They all achieve the same thing. and that’s to help draw the abscess out from the bottom of the foot. But again… we don’t want to leave this on any longer than 24 hours.

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