Hoof crack- are shoes the only answer?

saddlesore

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2 1/2 yo cob has a crack on front foot. Farrier thought maybe seedy toe as there was also a small hole at the toe on the sole. Three months on it looks no better :-( farrier says it needs support from a shoe otherwise it will continue to travel up the hoof wall. However he did say that to date the crack is still on the old 'baby' hoof and that the adult foot looks better quality.

I'm very reluctant to shoe as my last horse pulled them constantly and it cost me a fortune and wrecked his feet :-(

Any advice? His feet are typical cob broad if that helps .......
 

spookypony

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I've seen lots of cracks resolve without shoes. The edges of the crack can often be bevelled to take pressure off. Is the horse lame? Are the feet short enough? Is there a BF-professional you can ask for a second opinion?
 

Pinkvboots

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The best thing I have found is get your farrier to trim the foot back clean the hole where the crack is then put some keratex putty in it, keep an eye on the crack as the putty will come out but just scrape any dirt and stones and put some more in, its antibacterial so it will help stop infection spreading, if your horse has a stretched white line it could be his diet, keep him on a low sugar and starch diet, keep grit and stones out of the white line as this will cause the seedy toe, buy a wire brush from diy shop perfect for keeping bare foot hooves clean, dont dig at stones with a hoof pick it just pushes them deeper.
 

Heelfirst

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After 35 years of shoeing and 6 years of only treating with barefoot methods, I can honestly say that I have found it easier to treat cracks with trimming than I ever did when I was shoeing.
It is very important to get someone who is aware of the methods needed to trim for a cracked foot, and needless to say that diet and working conditions play a far bigger part in the healing process.
 

Buddy'sMum

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IME shoeing won't help if it is seedy toe - the last couple of years he was in shoes, my gelding had constant cracks and abscesses caused by seedy toe. I'd just keep the hole in the toe as clean as possible, maybe use Cleantrax or similar, and pack the hole it it's deep enough for the packing to stay in place.
 

Fides

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My mare had a huge crack and by just leaving it well alone (actually only having her trimmed every 8-10 weeks) it has completely grown out. Sometimes trimming more can make it worse... This was on advice of my barefoot trimmer. He also only rasped her hooves shorter, not actually trimmed so I don't know if this had any effect
 

amandap

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I'd just keep the hole in the toe as clean as possible, maybe use Cleantrax or similar, and pack the hole it it's deep enough for the packing to stay in place.
I have found cleantrax really useful for my gelding that has a crena (notch in sole at his toe)and developed a toe crack due to infection getting in and setting up home.
Diet, low sugar and appropriate minerals, is another very important element in seedy toe or any white line infection. Healthy lamina = good connection and resistance to infections.
 

Tiddlypom

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If it is seedy toe, then it is important to get rid of all the crud or the infection will carry on. If the farrier is unable to deal with it with normal trimming, then it becomes a vet job.

I had this last year with my then 2yo filly. My former farrier had tried for over a year to get the cracks in her front feet to grow out, but they wouldn't shift. My new farrier works in conjunction with one of my vets to deal with a chronic seedy toe. First the vet x rayed the foot to check that there was nothing more sinister going on (there wasn't) then he sedated her and oh so carefully drilled out all the crud, he had to go in and up a long way. As my farrier commented, it was beyond his pay grade to do it himself!

I box rested her for a week, keeping her feet very clean, then the farrier returned and put front shoes on. He then filled in the (extensive) drilled out holes with special filler and she was good to go. The cracks grew out naturally over about 5 months, with refits of the shoes every 4 weeks.

She's been out of shoes for a few weeks now, and hasn't looked back.

Echo the advice re the diet. I have changed feeding practices since I have been on HHO and all my horses' feet have improved.
 

saddlesore

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Thanks for all the replies :) he's in at night (out in a swamp,sorry field) during the day. Gets haylage, fast fibre, good doer chaff, pink powder, biotin and D&H hard hoof. His weight is good. Work is obviously very light, just pre breaking stuff, the occasional in hand walk etc.

I've been cleaning it with Milton and the farriers formula hoof cleaning stuff. I've also just got artimud so will use that tomorrow.

Farrier seems keen to shoe but I'm keen to avoid if possible although I'm not in any way anti. Horse is totally sound .
 

Fides

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I sympathise - my farrier was keen for me to shoe too. I changed farrier... I may work but what if you want to go back barefoot - would be a long slow (and unnecessary) process. Stick to your guns and if your farrier pushes, get a second opinion x
 

Brightbay

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Difference between first pic and second pic is one year. Nothing changed about the trim (I trim them), I didn't soak, open the crack further, rasp across the top of it or do anything bar squirting a bit of dilute Milton in when I was doing the frogs. The horse continued to live in the same field. The only difference was adding minerals to the diet.

During the same time frame, another horse in the same field with similar cracks continued to be shod, the cracks routinely opened and filled with filler and plates screwed across to "stabilise". Several years later, she still has all the cracks.

DSC00096.jpg


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dollyanna

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My 2yr old had a crack on each of his front feet for several months, the advice of 3 different (good) farriers made it worse or at best didn't help it, but it stopped developing after the first BF trim, and was completely gone after the 3rd trim. Maybe it just needs trimming a different way?
 

saddlesore

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Wow those pictures tell the whole story! What supplement did you use ? Yes I think they need better trimmed too. My farrier really just does a paddock trim rather than roll them at all. Curious to know many have had similar issues and have managed to rectify without shoeing. I just feel that if I give in and out them on I might never manage to get them back off!
 

Tiddlypom

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I just feel that if I give in and out them on I might never manage to get them back off!
I was :eek3: about having my filly shod, but needs must and once the cracks had grown out, the shoes came off no probs. The shoes were essential as so much hoof had to be cut out to get rid of the seedy toe, that her feet needed support and the filler. I was watching very closely, and the vet drilled very, very carefully and stopped as soon as he got to healthy foot.
 

Brightbay

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Wow those pictures tell the whole story! What supplement did you use ? Yes I think they need better trimmed too. My farrier really just does a paddock trim rather than roll them at all. Curious to know many have had similar issues and have managed to rectify without shoeing. I just feel that if I give in and out them on I might never manage to get them back off!

I used Forageplus Performance Equine Balancer to start with, then after a month of that, changed over to the slightly cheaper Forageplus Winter Hoof Health.
Once I saw the huge improvements happening, I caved in, got my grass analysed, found it was very high indeed in iron, and got a custom supplement made up to compensate for what we had in excess that was causing problems, as well as adding what we didn't have enough of (copper and zinc). It hasn't been any better than the Forageplus, to be honest, just works out slightly cheaper. It's also not been foolproof (me being the fool...) as I mixed up a batch with quantities completely wrong just before Christmas this year, had a return of all the previous hoof problems including a new crack, and only realised after about two months of wondering what was going wrong... He'd only been getting 10% of what he should have been getting! Correct balance restored and new crack now closing up nicely :)
 

amandap

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The trouble with shoeing is it doesn't address the cause and keeping the hole clean is impossible as it's covered by the shoe. Ime shoes are not required to hold the crack together, cracks will grow out if you address diet and disinfect. Trimming can be useful but I have found diet to be the key to growing them out in my mare who had horrendous cracks.
 

amandap

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I have used forage plus for three years now. Actually, it may be longer, sorry. ;) I use the hoof health one now. It is expensive but it is high spec. :cool: My mare has to have restricted grazing as well as soaked hay to keep her dietary sugars low. Luckily I have large yards so don't have to stable her. Too much grazing and her hooves collapse and will crack. Your youngster doesn't sound like this though.
It might be worth taking Heelfirst up on his offer of advice.

ps. Have a look at the pro hoof (ebay) ones.
 
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Brightbay

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Thanks everyone :) amandap did you use something similar to forage plus? It seems expensive :-(

I did think this too, until my other half pointed out that it cost a lot less than the remedial shoeing my horse's field mate had to have ;)
The grass mineral analysis and custom supplement does work out quite a bit cheaper now, but it's messy! I think it's worth trying the Forageplus for a few months to see if there's a notable difference. I saw differences within 3 or 4 weeks, when the thrush I'd been fighting for the previous 3 years just disappeared...
 

Buddy'sMum

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Curious to know many have had similar issues and have managed to rectify without shoeing.

My lad's feet improved massively after his shoes came off - can't remember the last time he had a crack. We struggled for years with cracks, abscesses and other problems when he was being shod.

His feet aren't perfect though so I've recently started using Pro Balance to see if that makes a difference but think I'm going to have my grass analysed.

ps Brightbay - wow, what a difference!
 

saddlesore

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After 35 years of shoeing and 6 years of only treating with barefoot methods, I can honestly say that I have found it easier to treat cracks with trimming than I ever did when I was shoeing.
It is very important to get someone who is aware of the methods needed to trim for a cracked foot, and needless to say that diet and working conditions play a far bigger part in the healing process.

Heelfirst if I send you some pics could you maybe offer some advice please?

Or anyone else who is willing to help lol?

I've bit the bullet and ordered forage plus summer hoof. Bloomin horses! I'm moving house ATM and SKINT!
 
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Heelfirst

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I very seldom if ever comment on photos as I find them to be very deceptive.
As I only do corrective referral work I find talking to vet, trimmer, or farrier in any referred case is far the best way of treating a problem, it also rules out any in-corrections that may occur while information is being relayed.
Please send the photos anyway as they are always interesting to observe, and of course if there was something that I felt should be acted on I would advise you to get one of your team to get in touch (no charge)
 
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