Horizontal hoof cracks

 

Yesterday, your horse’s hoof looked and felt totally normal. Today, he has a horizontal hoof crack that literally appeared out of nowhere. Should you panic? NO. Should you have a plan? YES.  Hoof cracks are caused by many different things – and it’s always a good idea to decipher what possible causes are.  Then you can proceed with a treatment plan. 

 

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What causes horizontal hoof cracks in horses?

 

  • Horizontal hoof cracks are alarming, but typically nothing to worry about. They are usually caused by a trauma to the coronary band or a bang to the hoof wall.  There may also be underlying hoof disease that contributes to pockets of the hoof wall losing structure.

 

  • It’s also suspected that some horizontal hoof cracks are the result of an abscess that ruptures at the coronary band, and the crack grows out with the hoof. These abscesses that move upwards and pop out are called “gravel.”  

 

  • At any rate, these horizontal hoof cracks rarely cause lameness in horses. My horse had one, as seen below, and he was quite the drama queen about it.  As the hoof was growing out, I did not know there was a hollow spot in the hoof wall.  Because the hoof does flex a bit, the hollow spot popped open.  This particular crack opened about halfway down. 

 

  • Any opening in your horse’s hoof, including a benign and non-painful horizontal crack, can get packed with mud, bacteria, manure, and other odor-causing petri dish ingredients. 

 

Your plan of action

 

  • Depending on the location of the crack, it may need to be opened up for cleaning and white-line disease prevention. 

 

horizontal hoof crack that has opened

Boy did this one smell a bit.  The lower flap trims away to allow air into the area, and also some thrush meds to keep white line disease away.

 

Have your veterinarian check these cracks out, just in case.

 

  • The hoof is a dynamic structure, that will flex and bend and move. A crack, horizontal or vertical, will make the hoof wall unstable, and the area will move quite a bit. This can, and will, affect underlying structures.

 

  • I know that some of you are wondering why I would call a veterinarian before the farrier, and it’s simple. Veterinarians work on the inner, soft tissue structures of a hoof, farriers are not. When you have any type of hoof crack, there is a chance that soft tissue will be affected, even without lameness. Also, vets have pain meds and x-ray machines just in case.

 

  •  Simple x-rays tell your vet if the crack is a result of something larger going on – like a giant white line infection that goes further than the crack.  Resection of the hoof may be needed in severe cases. 

Products to try

 

  • Use hoof soaking products, like CleanTrax, or the purple or green thrush meds on the crack as a preventative.  Podi-gel and White Lightening are goopy gel forms that tend to stick not run down the hoof or your hands.  

 

  • If your horse tends to forge or interfere, using bell boots can help protect their hoof wall from knocks that may contribute to creating an abscess. 

 

hoof wrap on a horse hoof

You may want to cover the hoof with a wrap or boot if the crack wants to become a cave for smelly stuff.

 

It’s up to your veterinarian and farrier as to how to proceed with a horizontal hoof crack. Luckily, they are often easy to treat and require no time off, but always remember that phrase about “no hoof, no horse”!

 

Short and entertaining (?) video about horse hooves and the trouble they can get into.

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Stock up here for your horse supplies! As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases, but it’s ZERO extra cents to you.  You can also visit my Amazon storefront here:  PEG storefront.

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Grazing Muzzle by GG Equine

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Back on Track Therapeutic Knee Boots
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Be practical when wrapping your horse's legs with a traditional color, but toss in some spice with the understated pattern!

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CENTAUR Double Tab Bell Boots
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So bright and fun for hoof protection.

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HORZE High-Visibility Reflective Neoprene Protective Horse Boots, Pair
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Protect your horse's legs and let them shine bright.

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Lettia Embroidered Polo Wraps
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Go forth and have fun with your polos!

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Woof Wear Reflective Club Boot - Lime
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Show off your horse's legs with these safe, reflective, and fashionable boots.

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Using this makes shoe removal easy!

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Whinny Wellies from Sox For Horses

Tough, weather-resistant covering for wraps and bandaging.

Silver Bells - Sox For Horses

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Handson Ergonomic Hoof Pick
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Grand Circuit White Lightning Liquid (64 oz)
$99.99

Buy bulk and save! This is great for stubborn hoof infections like seedy toe and thrush.

07/24/2024 04:29 pm GMT
Quiessence (Large-14 lbs)
$128.99 $85.98

This supplement helps high-laminitis risk horses and has calming ingredients like magnesium.

07/24/2024 04:28 pm GMT
Professional's Choice Ballistic No-Turn Overreach Bell Boots
$33.99

The gold standard for bell boots in a rainbow of colors.

07/23/2024 11:49 pm GMT
CENTAUR Double Tab Bell Boots
$14.96

So bright and fun for hoof protection.

07/23/2024 11:46 pm GMT
Cavallo Simple Hoof Boot for Horses, Size 3, Black
$182.95

This style is great to protect the hoof, but is not soft and squishy for laminitis cases.

07/24/2024 04:30 pm GMT
CHALLENGER Crease Nail Puller Shoe
$42.99

Using this makes shoe removal easy!

07/23/2024 11:34 pm GMT
EasyCare Glove Hoof Boot
$93.28

These boots are great for protecting barefoot horses.

07/24/2024 04:46 pm GMT
Silver Bells - Sox For Horses

For hoof protection when equine pastern dermatitis is a risk.

Durasole
$16.84 $15.58
07/24/2024 05:49 pm GMT
Handson Ergonomic Hoof Pick
$19.99

This is the strongest hoof pick available!

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Thank you!

 

 

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