Cold Weather Hoof Care

Though cold weather can cause some horse’s hoof growth to slow, proper hoof care is still imperative to having a healthy horse. Routine farrier care is essential, even during colder months, and picking out feet daily can help prevent thrush and seedy toe.

Soggy footing, whether from rain or snow, can lead to rapid development of these two conditions, which can be very painful for horses. Thrush is an infection in the frog; horses affected by thrush will generally be sore and a black, foul-smelling liquid will be seen in the infected area. The best way to prevent thrush is to offer horses a place to stand that is not damp; picking out hooves regularly will also help prevent this condition.

Additionally, horse owners can help heal thrush by scrubbing the frog and the sole of the hoof with a scrub brush, flushing the area with running water and drying it thoroughly. Soaking the affected hoof in a thrush-treatment solution will also help. After the treatment, dry the frog and apply zinc oxide, working it into the cracks of the frog.

Seedy toe, also called white line disease, occurs when yeast, bacteria or fungus invades the hoof wall and begins working its way up toward the coronary band. As is the case with thrush, some management changes may be necessary to clear up a case of seedy toe. The hooves need to be kept as dry as possible and turnout in wet pastures should be minimized.

The addition of biotin or methionine to the horse’s diet may be helpful. Keeping a horse with either of these conditions on a four-week shoeing cycle until all signs of disease have been eliminated is necessary.

Read more at EquiMed.

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