The many reasons to ice your horse’s hooves.
There’s a reason the saying “no hoof, no horse” has been around a long time. It’s not just laminitis that this is referring to, it’s the overall health of your horse’s hooves. When the insides of the hoof start to develop inflammation, and not just from laminitis, there is nowhere for the swelling to go.
Boots are one way to get icing done. These are designed for laminitis and will cover the fetlock and pastern, cooling the blood going into the hoof for added oomph.
When do you need to ice your horse’s hooves?
Call your veterinarian for a complete diagnosis and treatment plan. It’s time to ice if your horse has or does any of these things:
- A hard workout, a jumping session, bad footing. Concussion of the hoof can create pain, inflammation, and worse in the hoof. It may be a simple bruise, it may be laminitis, but it can be helped with icing of the hoof. You may have heard the term road founder, which is a case of laminitis from the hard ground. This can happen over time or after an isolated incident.
- Fever. The inflammation that occurs in your horse’s body during a fever can spread rapidly into the hooves via the enzymes that are involved in the inflammation process. For more on fever and founder, read this.
Regular monitoring of your horse’s temp will alert you to a fever long before he tells you.
- Diarrhea. Same scenario here. Diarrhea can upset your horse’s entire system and lead to dehydration, organ failure, and laminitis. Act fast. Knowing if your horse’s manure is normal is key here.
- Injuries. If your horse is injured, he might be shifting weight from one leg to the others. Over time, this can cause supporting limb laminitis. Icing the hooves of all legs can definitely help your horse feel better. Ice does numb pain, after all!
The inside of an ice boot. Ice reduces inflammation, which is good for all parts of your horse, especially his feet. Ice is also a pain reliever.
The hard ground can lead to sore hooves.
- Binge eating. Anytime there’s a change to your horse’s gut, he’s at risk for hoof problems. This is common when a horse has either snacked on more than his share of grains or feeds, and it can even happen if he binges on hay. For more on the horse that binge eats a concentrated meal, read this.
Don’t forget to call your vet! A little bit of proactive hoof icing can go a long way to keeping your horse sound and happy.
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