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Discussion on Horizontal Cracks in Hoof

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Lou
Member
Username: loopylou

Post Number: 18
Registered: 3-2007
Posted on Thursday, Jul 19, 2007 - 1:14 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My neighbor has a horse that I'm considering purchasing. He's a 6 year old Morab who does regular endurance rides quite well. Overall, he seems completely healthy. He is shod on all 4 and I'm a bit concerned about a fairly deep horizontal crack across the middle of his hoof. Strangely enough, my other neighbor has the same thing on her endurance horse. Apparently, these cracks develop during or right after an endurance ride. Their farrier thought it was because the hind foot was hitting the front, but someone else says that's impossible. Since they are both endurance horses, I'm led to think that its from the stress of the terrain and ride....both neighbors use the same farrier so could it be something he is doing wrong with the shoeing? I'll try to get a picture up but if you have any ideas I'd appreciate before further considering this horse. We live in Vermont so the climate is sometimes hot, humid, wet, dry.... my horse has developed vertical cracks which, although not ideal, is fairly normal due to this crazy weather (we moved from CA) but horizontal cracks seem a bit odd? The horse I'm considering gets free choice grass hay all day, pasture all day, about a can of wet beetpulp at night with 1/4 of that of bran mixed in, plus grain. He is fed a selenium & Vit E supplement because we're deficient out here.
Thanks for any thoughts or advice.
Lou
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Holly Wood
Member
Username: hwood

Post Number: 2010
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Thursday, Jul 19, 2007 - 7:30 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

It is not impossible for a hind foot to hit a front foot. Some horses forge all the time, and in a short-backed breed, it can be common, especially if the horse is in great shape and is taking long strides in the back. The toe of the hinds may be long, too, so that is a consideration. Have you ridden the horse out on trail? Do you hear him interfering as he moves?
If the horse is stepping under with the hinds and not getting his fronts out of the way fast enough, then he may forge. I would ride the horse out at a good walk on the level and up and down hill, paying very close attention to any clipping noise. I have had a farrier say to me, "All Arabians forge." Of course, that isn't the case, but he saw a lot of Arabians who did . . .also some TBs that just weren't picking up in the front.

It may be coincidence that the two endurance horses have the same kind of cracks. I know VT is very rocky, and maybe both horses had the misfortune of hitting rocks with their hinds coming down hill.

How deep are the cracks? How far up the foot? Are his toes squared off behind or do they seem long? Are his front toes long? Rolled?
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Vicki Zaneis
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 457
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Thursday, Jul 19, 2007 - 10:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Forging can damage the cartilage and cause episodes of chronic quittor resulting in horizontal cracks. Hitting rocks, fences, etc., can also result in horizontal cracks. You may want to consider getting some X-rays.
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dieliz
Member
Username: dsibley

Post Number: 78
Registered: 11-2005
Posted on Friday, Jul 20, 2007 - 8:00 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Another possibility: my TB/QH has a huge horizontal crack that is just about grown out from a blown abcess. Luckily no problems yet, but will probably lose a chunk when it finally grows near the bottom. Vet and farrier have both been watching it closely.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 18884
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Jul 20, 2007 - 10:32 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Good images of of the crack and whole hoof would help us make a better guess of what is going on.
DrO
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Vicki Zaneis
Member
Username: vickiann

Post Number: 459
Registered: 3-2005
Posted on Friday, Jul 20, 2007 - 1:00 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Good observations and ideas, Holly, dieliz, and Dr. O
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Lou
Member
Username: loopylou

Post Number: 19
Registered: 3-2007
Posted on Sunday, Jul 22, 2007 - 2:07 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Thanks a lot you guys. I'm at a class this week but will take some pictures upon return and will do more "forging' research.

Thanks again!
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Lou
Member
Username: loopylou

Post Number: 20
Registered: 3-2007
Posted on Wednesday, Jul 25, 2007 - 2:29 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I have photos and have downsized them to less than 64kb but its still telling me I exceeded the max file size....
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 18918
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Jul 27, 2007 - 8:38 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Lou if you will email them to me I will be glad to see what the problem is. See the Help Topic for how to contact us.
DrO
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 18941
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Jul 30, 2007 - 9:19 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Here are the photos:


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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 18942
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Monday, Jul 30, 2007 - 9:24 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Lou did these cracks appear at the coronet following the ride and now currently are growing out or did they form in the middle of the hoof? By knowing when they formed I can better give you an idea of why they formed. Either way, based on the information we have, this looks like a temporary situation that will simply grow out in about 2 or 3 shoeing cycles.
DrO
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Lou
Member
Username: loopylou

Post Number: 21
Registered: 3-2007
Posted on Tuesday, Jul 31, 2007 - 9:52 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I think she said they occurred during an endurance ride but I will double check and get back to you. Thanks so much for looking at them.
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Lori
Member
Username: maggienm

Post Number: 512
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Tuesday, Jul 31, 2007 - 11:58 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

What would cause cracks like this to appear in the middle of the hoof?
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 18954
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 1, 2007 - 7:18 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I got that they formed during the ride, but what I want to know is where they formed at the coronet and have grown out or did they form in the middle of the hoof. The only way they could form in the middle is if horn is scrapped away. But there shape and appearance look like something that happened at the coronet while the horn was being formed and then grew out.
DrO
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Lori
Member
Username: maggienm

Post Number: 513
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 1, 2007 - 1:16 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Sorry to keep on about this. I am trying to learn about hoofs so this post particularly interests me.
I agree, these hoofs look like others I have seen with a gravel that is growing out. But a hole this far down would mean there has been several months of growth since the incident. The post (I could be misunderstanding) seems to say these cracks appeared almost overnight in their present position.

I don't see how a crack in the front of the front hoof could be caused by a rear hoof striking the back of the front?
What could scrape the hoof wall in the middle to cause something like this?
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Lou
Member
Username: loopylou

Post Number: 24
Registered: 3-2007
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 1, 2007 - 1:42 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Lori,
The owner of the horse is away on an endurance ride. Once she returns I can get more specifics about how the cracks occurred. She had said that they occurred during an endurance ride, as had her neighbors (same issue) but I'll ask again to see if perhaps something started before that and the endurance ride exasperated the problem. She'll be back on Saturday.
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Holly Wood
Member
Username: hwood

Post Number: 2060
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 1, 2007 - 1:46 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Just wondering out loud here:

Would white line disease creep up inside and loosen the wall enough that if it was flaring a bit and was under stress that it would start to crack?

It looks as though the front of the hoof may have a flare that was rasped? . . and the toes of the both hooves look to be missing the first layers of horn.

What color are the front hooves? Is there any flaring or rasping of flares on the front feet?

Is he kept shod all year? Did the cracks happen after he had been barefoot for awhile and then shod and raced?

If the hoof wall was weakened due to laminitis or white line disease, then maybe any stress to the toe could cause the hoof to crease a bit and crack?

Very interesting . . .

Lu . . . would it be a terrible inconvenience to have pictures of all four feet and profile pics of the feet, too?

Little Morgans can get quite cresty and overweight on the lush grass in Vermont . . . How is is body condition? Would it be okay with the owner to post a photo of the horse on HA?
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Fran C
Member
Username: canter

Post Number: 1110
Registered: 1-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Aug 1, 2007 - 3:48 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

What about the horse striking the front of the hoof on a rock or other hard edged obstacle during the endurance ride? Could that cause damage such as this?

Just a thought...
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 18962
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Aug 2, 2007 - 6:46 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

As you look at these photos you have to take into account the symmetrical bilateral nature of the defect suggesting a almost identical event to both feet, this makes striking the hoof or localized infection less likely.
DrO
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Lori
Member
Username: maggienm

Post Number: 515
Registered: 6-2004
Posted on Thursday, Aug 2, 2007 - 10:58 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr. O Thank you for talking 'up' to us, but I may need a translator.

Do you mean the trauma is similar on both feet and on each foot is in a similar position?
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Chris
Member
Username: stevens

Post Number: 345
Registered: 8-2002
Posted on Friday, Aug 3, 2007 - 1:31 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

My horse recently had a similar thing, much smaller "cracks" appeared on one of his front feet about 1/3 of the way down from the coronet band. Maybe 1/16 of an inch deep.

They, two very shallow indentations, weren't there when I rode out for a trail ride, but were there when I came back. One went almost all the way around his hoof and the other parallel but not as long. The horse hasn't taken a bad step yet and it's been about 2 weeks.

I had my farrier and the head trainer at our barn look at it. The farrier noticed that all of his feet have some kind of deviation (but no other cracks) at about the same location. Between the three of us, we think that there was some change in diet or something about 2-3 months ago and we're seeing the history of it in his feet.

There hasn't been any change in his diet or exercise, however, that was about the time that we were having some training issues that seemed to be resolved with 2 weeks of Ulcerguard.

Just another data point.
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Julie Masner
Member
Username: juliem

Post Number: 233
Registered: 9-2002
Posted on Thursday, Aug 9, 2007 - 7:14 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

What about selenium toxicity? Selenium is commonly found in soil, ground water and plants and in many supplements. In some parts of the country it's lacking, but in some areas it's too high. In horses, this can result in toxicity and one of the symptoms can be horizontal hoof wall cracks. I would think though they would show up on more than one foot, but it's caused by damage to the cells that form keratin. Perhaps the weakened (damaged)area was stressed by the endurance ride and the crack appeared. Dr. O may be able to add to this or suggest a way to rule it out. Chris, in your case too it may be worth checking out.
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Holly Wood
Member
Username: hwood

Post Number: 2085
Registered: 3-2001
Posted on Thursday, Aug 9, 2007 - 7:24 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Vermont soil is very low in selenium, so unless the horse is getting too much in a supplement, this is probably not the problem.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Moderator
Username: dro

Post Number: 18988
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Aug 10, 2007 - 12:45 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Besides the location the photos are not suggestive of a generalized defect of keratinization but show several discreet lesions of the horn.
DrO
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