Horse hoof bruising is a common cause of lameness and can be quite painful for your equine friend. Thankfully, there are a few steps you can take to reduce hoof bruising; continue reading to learn more.
What Is Hoof Bruising?
While the outside of the hoof is hard and well protected, the underside of the hoof is quite soft and tender.
This portion of the hoof--much like the tender region on the bottoms of our own feet, can be prone to bruising or other injuries if your horse steps on a rock or other debris.
When a bruise becomes visible on the bottom of your horse’s hoof, it is likely that it has actually been some time since your horse actually injured their foot.
A bruise is an indication that trauma occurred to the area and a blood vessel was ruptured, causing a small amount of bleeding in the soft tissue. A bruise can take days or weeks to surface.
What Causes Hoof Bruises?
Thankfully, just like bruises on our own bodies, hoof bruises will usually heal on their own in time.
If you notice that your horse’s bruise isn’t healing on its own, or if they seem to be developing on your horse’s feet on a regular basis, it may be time to interject and see what can be done.
The first thing to do is to have your farrier come out and take a look. He or she will be able to give you an idea of what might be causing the bruising. Hoof bruising could be caused by a number of different things, including:
- Chronic stresses
- Hard or long-term work on hard ground
- Repetitive pawing or stomping
- Lack of protection on rocky terrain
Once you’ve identified the cause of the issue, you can work with both your horse’s farrier and veterinarian in order to find a solution.
Hoof Bruising Prevention And Treatment
There are a few different ways that you can successfully prevent hoof bruising:
- Protective hoof boots
- Protective hoof shoes
- Protective hoof pads
- Reduce workload/ensure you have foot protection for heavy workdays
- Keep shoes on all year-round
- Hoof supplements and conditioners
In the case that your horse is experiencing hoof bruising, no worries. There are a few different treatment methods to try that will have your horse feeling better in no time:
- Take a break from riding for a couple of days to a week if possible
- Ice the hoof
- Anti inflammatory medication (approved by your veterinarian)
Working with both your veterinarian and farrier, you should be able to develop a good strategy for keeping your horse’s feet safe, healthy, and pain free.
As always, be sure to consult your horse’s veterinarian before attempting any sort of treatment for trauma to the hoof.
If there is an abscess present, it is crucial that it is taken care of as soon as possible.
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