MSD Manual

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Foot Care of Horses

By

Thomas J. Lane

, BS, DVM, University of Florida, Large Animal Clinical Sciences

Last full review/revision Nov 2014 | Content last modified Dec 2014

Hoof care is essential for good mobility and comfort of the horse. "No hoof, no horse" is a common expression as true today as it was 200 yr ago. Proper trimming at regular intervals will result in good hoof and leg balance. Conditions such as hoof cracks, thrush, and white line disease can be recognized early and treated properly. All horse owners should learn to recognize the initial signs of laminitis so that treatment can be started as soon as possible. In young foals, weanlings, and yearlings, frequent hoof trimming will assure proper weight bearing and bone alignment. A balanced foot early in a horse's life will also help to avoid potential lameness and alleviate injuries later in life. For a horse to perform to the best of its ability, it must be sound (free from pain). Soundness is an aspect of health and is more than the absence of lameness. A sound horse can better meet the demands of physical and mental activity. (Also see Lameness in Horses.)

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