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Discussion on Weak, crumbly hoof

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Patti Ellis (Hadacall)
Posted on Thursday, Sep 27, 2001 - 9:49 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr. O,

My daughter's 15 year QH mare has 1 weak, crumbly hoof - other 3 are fine. We bought this horse 2 years ago and she has been on a hoof supplement (biotin, methionin, etc.) since that time. She is fed a 12% pellet with a tested 14%+ coastal hay and is on pasture about 8 to 10 hours a day. We do have the most trouble with her foot during the "wet" periods. I know the wet-dry, wet-dry is not good, but this is not a horse that can be kept in a stall when we go through 2 weeks of solid rain. While her horn quality is definately "better" than 2 years ago,during wet periods the weakness of her horn causes her to throw that shoe within a matter of days. When she throws this shoe it comes off with the last part of the hoof and it's difficult to reshoe her. Vet and farrier feel that her diet is balanced and she looks very good (shiny coat, dapples, etc.) I have recently found a product that I am considering trying, but haven't found anyone who has heard of it. It's called Keratex hoof hardener with another called Keratex hoof gel. It comes out of England,and, while not cheap, would pay for itself within about 3 months during our wet periods (in terms of getting the hoof reshod). Just wondering if you have ever heard of this product or if anyone else has ever tried it?
Patti Ellis
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Posted on Thursday, Sep 27, 2001 - 5:54 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

i am not Dr.O but i have heard of the above products and have used the hoof hardner...


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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Friday, Sep 28, 2001 - 11:59 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Patti,
I wish I could be more help. Yes I have seen these products but have not used them nor have I been able to determine what the ingredients are.
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Sandi (Skeller)
Posted on Sunday, Sep 30, 2001 - 8:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Patti, you might try the Farrier site that Dr. O. lists on the bottom of the menu. Last time I was there they had quite a few conversations about Keratex. It wasn't as easy to navigate as this one so keep looking!

I've use the hoof hardner and have been satisfied with it. However it's not a substitute for biotin supplementation (which you said you are doing anyway). My mare had "shelly" hooves and this helped to keep them on. It claims to bind to the hoof molecules......Be sure only to put it on the hoof, not the coronary band. I also used it on her soles to toughen them up as after her last set of pulled shoes she went barefoot for 9 months. (this was during the winter months and really helped her feet)

Also, diluted 1/2 strength it also works on thrush (but is an expensive thrush agent). The farrier I was using at the time didn't trim frogs and there was one pocket she had with black gooky stuff. Not much, but I didn't want it to get out of hand. (he didn't think it was thrush but what else could it have been?) Thrush buster worked for about a week and then it would come back, but the Keratex diluted 1/2 strength worked great.

I don't believe the bottle lists the ingredients, I'll check it's at the barn. However one has to be formaldehyde (which explains why it would work on thrush).

One hint, if you buy it don't keep the brush in the bottle. I think the stuff tends to work on the wood and metal brush and possibly changes.

Good luck! Sandi
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Jordana Meisner (Presario)
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 2, 2001 - 12:36 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Patti - keep in mind that while you may be supplementing with Biotin, and have an apparently healthy horse, if the body is missing minerals that are necessary for the horse to USE the biotin, it won't do much good. Besides the hoof supplement, is she getting a good multi vitamin/mineral?

And yes, the Keratex Hoof Hardener does work - it's main ingredient is formaldehyde, so use it carefully! I've been using it on my TB's soles, as they are fairly flat and on the soft side. There has been a definite improvement.

Also, it is possible that it is the way the farrier is trimming her foot that is contributing to her problem. If her conformation wants to place her foot a certain way, and he's trimming her foot to look like the other one, she may be putting undue stress on that foot/shoe, resulting in problems.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM (Dro)
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 3, 2001 - 6:42 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello All,
I have always been reluctant to use formaldehyde on walls. As Jordana notes above: it will make a sole hard, actually too hard if overused. Best is to use the formaldehyde on the sole just to the point of getting a tougher but still pliable sole.

When this very hard condition occurs people using it will note a layer of sole that is extremely hard, it almost feels and pares like a piece of ceramic. Ususally they will discover a few new words in their farriers vocabulary when he tries to pare on it. But with time the hard surface cracks and flakes out in pretty large chunks, leaving the untreated deeper layers.

Elasticity is an important component of hoof horn. The sole and wall is moving and flexing while the horse is in motion. I think what is happening here is the hardened sole does not flex in the same way the deeper more pliable layer does and the result is the two layers seperate.

On the sole which turns itself over much more quickly than the wall this is not disasterous. By the time the piece of hard sole flakes out there is usually plenty of new sole behind it. But on the wall where it has to last 8 to 10 months this could be a disaster.

If used judisously on the wall it may have a place but I think I will stick with my recommendations in the articles
1) Care for Horses: Hoof Care: Overview of Care and
2)Equine Diseases: Lameness: Foot and Sole Problems: Horn Quality: Cracks & Rings in the Hoof Wall.
These have always worked well for me but Patti if you cannot keep those feet dry you may find nothing works.
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Lynn Lindstrom
Username: Frances

Post Number: 4
Registered: 3-2003
Posted on Thursday, Apr 17, 2003 - 2:12 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hi - I don't know if I am supposed to comment on posts from two years ago, but as a new member I have just seen this discussion on Keratex, which I've had some experience of: a couple of years ago the farrier complained that my TB mare's feet were so dry and brittle that next time she lost a shoe she'd lose some hoof with it and he wouldn't be able to shoe her. I heard about Keratex, and asked the company if their product was suitable for my mare's condition - was assured it was. I made a great effort to apply Keratex consistently to walls and soles and the result was great - much stronger, denser, drier hooves which held their shoes. However, though the farrier agreed that her feet were much better, he found them extremely hard (but Keratex had warned that farriers often say this, as the harder horn is more difficult to trim). Then .... my mare went lame, with some activity shown in the X-ray in the navicular region where most of the pain came from, and some pain found on palpation of the upper suspensory ligament on the same front leg. The vet said her hoof horn was good quality, but the farrier said she had probably gone lame because her feet had no elasticity. I decided to stop the Keratex, my mare was about two months off work, and now I'm just using regular hoof grease. Her hooves don't look as good as they did with Keratex, and have some small cracks (mainly if not entirely due to the farrier's continual lateness), but frankly I don't want to take the chance that Keratex actually caused her lameness by making her hooves too inflexible, so I don't think I'll use it again.
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Ramona Haskin
Username: ramonah

Post Number: 27
Registered: 1-2005
Posted on Wednesday, Apr 25, 2007 - 6:12 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

Dr. O, you mentioned you had heard of the products made by Keratex, but were unable to find the ingredients. My farrier recommended the Keratex Hoof Hardener. I did some research comparing the product information on their website I then compared it to what you have recommended in the past. I would be interested in knowing what you think. It seems to me that the ingredient is formalin, a formaldehyde and methylene mixture.
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Username: dro

Post Number: 18336
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Thursday, Apr 26, 2007 - 9:19 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Ramona,
This is a great question but you need to post it in a new discussion while including specifically what you are wanting to treat.
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