Horse Welfare – Some Common Diseases of the Foot

Corns

Symptoms are the production of mild and often intermittent lameness.  It is more obvious when a horse turns on the effected foot.  It can be caused from bruising between the hoof walls and the bars of the horses foot.  Flat footed horses and horses with thin soles are more susceptible.  It can be resultant of standing on a solid object such as a stone or can be caused from working on hard ground.

Laminitis

Symptoms include a reluctance to move, the transfer of weight to the back of the heels of the feet often making the horse seem to be leaning back and outting his forefeet out in front.  The feet are usually warm with digital pulses.  It is classically seen in horses that are overweight and rarely / irregularly exercised most commonly during the lush growth of grass in the spring.  It may also occur after a horse eats excessive amounts of carbohydrates and after having diarrhea.  Sometimes if a horse bears too much weight on an opposing limb to a lame one this can also trigger laminitis. Hard ground can also be a causative factor.

Overreaching

This is the brushing of the toe of the rear hoof onto the bulbs of the heels or coronary band of a forelimb.  This often results in severe lameness but is relative to the wound caused.

Nail Bind or Prick

This is caused by the application of the horses shoe too tightly or closely to the sensitive white line of the hoof (bind) or of the foot (prick).  This can cause moderate to severe lameness with a negative reflex occurring when the offending nail is pressed.  These symptoms will usually occur after shoeing.

Thrush

Symptoms include a black horn of the frog with it being moist and smelly.  This is due to it being infected.  There can be no lameness in some cases.  This occurs due to poor hygiene and failure to clean out the feet regularly.  Often due to horses standing in damp, dirty moist conditions for extended periods of time.

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