by Vettec Hoof Care
Proper hoof care is essential to a horse’s well-being. Without regular hoof maintenance, horses can develop conditions in their feet that cause discomfort and can require costly treatment. One condition that is occurring more frequently in horses is corns – severe, visible bruising in a horse’s feet that is problematic if untreated. It’s important for horse owners to provide the proper support and protection to treat corns and get hooves healthy again.
Causes & Symptoms
There are two potential causes of corns. For shod horses, the condition occurs when the foot grows over the shoe where the sole, white line and heel come together in the hoof. Corns can also develop in the feet of horses, when the coffin bone pushes down on the sole. In both cases, corns cause intense pressure in one area of the hoof and becomes uncomfortable. In order to avoid injuries, it is important for hoof care professionals to tend to the condition as quickly as possible.
The most common symptoms of corns include:
- Dark Bruising: Corns cause severe bruising on the foot in the seat of the corn. If this happens, it is likely that the hooves need extra support in order for the horse to become comfortable again and heal.
- Discomfort: If a horse with corns is left untreated, the horse may stand or walk unevenly as a result of the irritation. It is vital for horse owners to provide the proper hoof care to horses suffering from corns in order to avoid injury or lameness.
Unfortunately, there is no specific cause linked to corns. However, regular maintenance and trimming can help avoid the condition and help with early detection.
Depending on whether a horse is shod or barefoot, there are different ways to treat corns. For shod horses, horse owners may need to either begin shorter shoeing cycles or make sure their horses are equipped with a fuller fitting shoe, or both, in order to help provide more support. This allows extra room for a horse’s feet to grow and relieves the pressure on the soles.
If a barefoot horse develops corns, horse owners can use pour-in pad materials to help with the healing process and allow bruised feet to heal. Equi-Pak and Equi-Pak Soft are fast-setting, soft pad materials that bond directly to the sole and frog, and improve the depth of the sole. These soft packing materials soften the concussion between the coffin bone and the ground, so the horse has a soft layer of protection to help the hoof heal comfortably. They act as a cushion for the tender feet against abrasive ground surfaces. Equi-Pak Soft should be applied under a plastic or leather pad.
Because corns can develop at any time, it’s vital for horse owners to get their horses’ hooves examined thoroughly and trimmed on a regular basis, about every six weeks. A consistent hoof care regimen helps avoid conditions like corns, discomfort and costly treatment.
Talk with your farrier or veterinarian about how pour-in pad materials can help manage corns, and make sure your horse is on an adequate maintenance schedule.