Horse Hoof Bruising
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Horse Hoof Bruising

August 12, 2019


Hi, I’m Danvers. I’m the Hoof Health Consultant
for SmartPak. Today, we’re going to talk about bruises. On the foot, bruising is generally an issue
of the sole, though you can find bruises in the frog. You’ll see evidence of bruising
in the hoof wall, but, primarily, when we’re dealing with bruises, we’re talking about
on the solar surface of the foot. In general, the sole on a normal saddle horse
is going to be about 3/8 of an inch thick. That’s not a lot, when you look at the fact
that at a gallop, a horse is going to be putting five thousand pounds of pressure on that limb.
So, that’s not a lot of protection. So, a bruise is not uncommon. Ways to avoid it – good
regular maintenance, keeping the foot gathered and the integrity of that hoof will help to
keep a thick hoof wall. One of the most important things is to leave
some sole in the foot and allow it to be protected. The more that you strip out this sole, the
more you thin the sole, the more that you provide an opportunity for bruising to take
place. Usually, when we see a bruise on the bottom
of a foot, it’s usually old and no longer an issue. There are a number of different types of bruises.
If you see the bruise on the sole, and you can often feel and put a little thumb pressure
there, and you’ll find a little circle or a little oval, little area, where it feels
a bit spongy, and that’s definitely a bruise. In other cases, you’ll see what appears to
be bruising in the white line area. You’ll see red, you’ll see yellow – different colors
that show up in that area, and that’s very often laminar tearing. So, you’re looking
at leakage from the stretching and pulling of that lamina, between the sensitive and
insensitive tissue. So that’s more often a sign of imbalance than insult. Imbalances
in the hoof cause that stretching and pulling and tearing. It appears as a bruise or evidences
as a bruise, but it’s really a result of that imbalance. And, occasionally, you’ll see bruising
that will show up in the outer hoof wall. More often than not, that’s been some type
of an insult to the origin of growth. Horses that tend to paw and bang at a gate will sometimes
show signs of bruising around that perimeter. At the acute stage, you’re very often going
to see a horse that is evidencing as lame with no visual evidence on the foot. That’s
where you’ll pull out a pair of hoof testers and go searching. In many cases, the veterinarian
or the farrier will be looking for where that area of insult is. If the bruise is in the frog, it’s usually
not visually accessible. And you’ll just have to find that by palpating it with your hand
or with hoof testers. If it’s out in the sole, you’ll find it as a spongy spot. There are a number of ways to deal with a
bruise. One of the important things is to make certain that you are, in fact, dealing
with a bruise. You can get a reaction and think, “Oh, that horse is bruised,” when,
in fact, it’s the beginning of a laminitic episode. If you just say, “Boy he’s bruised.
Let’s put a pad on that,” and it turns out that it’s an abscess, you’re going to be driving
the infection deeper. So make absolutely certain that you’ve involved your hoof care professionals
and that you have definitive diagnostics that you can work from. Once you’ve established that you are, in fact,
dealing with a bruise, it’s usually something that can be resolved, and the horse can go
back to work in short order. The treatment protocols will vary. I use a venice turpentine-based
product or Magic Cushion. Any number of things that are commercially available. Work with
your farrier and your veterinarian. Know what they’re comfortable with. Make sure that you’re
using good, commercially products that are intended for the purpose. I hope this was helpful. Stay tuned as we
work on more hoof health concerns here at SmartPak.

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  1. See now this pisses me off. In your first pic it shows one bar bent over, why not trim it off. If this was a barefoot horse, it would feel like a stone in your shoe. Bar material is hoof wall, it is harder than sole, there for it presses down on the sole and hurts the horse.

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