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Discussion on Soft Heel - What is it?

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Shannon Morton
New Member
Username: Smorton

Post Number: 1
Registered: 10-2004
Posted on Monday, Oct 25, 2004 - 11:46 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

I am trying to find a lead on what might be going on with my saddlebred's heels. We live in Oregon and it has just started raining pretty constantly here so we brought him in from pasture and were cleaning his hooves when we noticed that all four of his heels are soft and sort of spongy like they were soggy. He hasn't had prolonged exposure to the mud or rain since it has only been raining enough to create mud over the last week or so, but if I didn't know better I'd think it was some sort of hoof rot. The hooves had little tiny holes in the wall of this area but the rest of the hoof is totally fine. He isn't lame but when you mess with it, he doesn't really like it although he doesn't protest too badly. Has anyone seen anything like this before? I'm trying to determine how to treat it - most hoof problems are bacterial or fungal from what I know, but do I treat it the same way? Any advice would be greatly appreciated!
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Rick Obadiah
Username: Onehorse

Post Number: 59
Registered: 9-2003
Posted on Monday, Oct 25, 2004 - 3:41 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post


From your post, I suspect the problem will take care of itself once your environment dries. This past summer we had a ton of rain (southeastern Wisconsin) and my horse had the same problem you describe. Once things dried out, the heels of my horse went back to normal. In my case, not only where the heels 'spongy' but they sorta took on a light grayish color.

This occurred in a weeks time period.

My farrier saw it and said that it would clear when it dried and it did.

I'm only relaying my experience ... please know that I'm not a vet or you may want further opinions.

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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Username: Dro

Post Number: 11402
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Tuesday, Oct 26, 2004 - 6:57 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Rick is correct this is water logged horn you are seeing. Whether this causes problems depends on how lomg this goes on, how clean your environment is, and is your horses foot foot healthy otherwise. For more on dealing with excessive environmental wetness see, Care for Horses Hoof Care Care of the Hoof: an Overview.

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Username: harley13

Post Number: 7
Registered: 7-2008
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010 - 5:22 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I am in desperate need of advise for a horse that I have been treating for months now with horrible thrush.
Vet said to wrap his feet after treating with sugardine mix and cotton with duct tape to heel up not only abscesses on x2 front feet but the thrush all the way around. Now he has this soft heel going on that is way worse than the thrush probably from wrapping. Any suggestions out there????
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Username: scooter

Post Number: 7260
Registered: 9-2000
Posted on Wednesday, Oct 27, 2010 - 9:19 pm:   Edit PostPrint Post

I would suggest quit wrapping his feet and let the heels dry. I have had this problem before too, wrapping/booting, the soggy hoof became a worse problem then the original problem.

I would suggest thrush buster for the thrush and keeping his hooves as dry as possible, if you have to wrap I found gold bond medicated powder helped keep the hoof/heel from getting too soggy. When my horse had an abscess this year I packed the holes with cotton soaked with tomorrow or thrushbuster, generously sprinkled the gold bond (especially where the heel sits in his easy boot RX's and ended up with a very dry hoof, with no thrush.

Hope this helps!
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Username: dustee

Post Number: 76
Registered: 1-2007
Posted on Thursday, Oct 28, 2010 - 11:56 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Kathy - to help dry up the feet - I love Keratex Hoof Hardener ( using it on the lower 1" of the hoof exterior, and the sole. On the frog - I mix it with a little water, as suggested in their brochure. My farrier started us on Hanford's US VET "Go-Dry" which is a penicillin procaine (mastitis treatment for cows!!) and it comes in a syringe with nozzle and cap. Use modest amounts and fill in with part of a cotton ball, or in the first couple of days you may need to cover the whole foot. Wedge the cotton ball in with end of hoof pick - carefully..... Last time I bought the Go-Dry - which I think may have been from Jeffers Equine - it was under $2.00 per unit - and the hoof hardener may have been around $35.00 from Keratex. They are very quick shippers. Good luck!!!
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Robert N. Oglesby DVM
Username: dro

Post Number: 25268
Registered: 1-1997
Posted on Friday, Oct 29, 2010 - 7:34 am:   Edit PostPrint Post

Hello Kathy,
I believe we can help you with your question but let me get you started off right so you can get the best answer as quick as possible.

You will get more responses if you start your own discussion rather than post at the bottom on another member's discussion. Each discussion is "owned" by the original poster and all replies in that discussion should either directly or indirectly address the concerns of the original poster.

To start your own discussion back up one page using the navigation bar at the top of this page. This will be a Article Page on this topic. Below the article you will find a list of already existing discussions on this topic. Under this list you will find the "Start New Discussion" button. This is a good topic on your subject so you should first review the article as it will have important information on your subject. Next check the titles of the already existing discussions to see if your question has already been answered.

If your question remains unanswered, now is the time to Start a New Discussion. Select a short title that describes your specific concern. A title like "Help!!!" does not help others find your specific topic. Instead something like "Ace for Colic?" allows others to rapidly find and understand what your topic is about just by viewing the title. This is likely to bring more responses from those with some experience with your topic and allows members to find answers to their questions quicker.
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