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  • May 11, 2023 3 min read

    How to Manage Horse Hoof Abscesses 

    Winter is the prime season for hoof abscesses! Hoof abscesses are a common and painful condition that can affect horses, and they occur when bacteria infect the soft tissues within the hoof, causing inflammation, heat, and pain. The good news is that hoof abscesses can often be prevented with good management practices. In today's article, we will give you a few tips for preventing horse hoof abscesses. 

    1. Maintain Good Hoof Health

    The best way to prevent hoof abscesses is to keep your horse's hooves healthy. This means scheduling regular visits from a farrier to keep your horse's hooves trimmed and balanced. It also means picking out your horse's hooves daily to remove any dirt or debris that may be lodged in the crevices. A clean and well-maintained hoof is less likely to develop an abscess, and other wet weather associated conditions. 

    2. Provide a Clean and Dry Environment

    Horses that are kept in dirty or damp conditions are more susceptible to hoof abscesses. To prevent this, ensure your horse is kept in a clean and dry environment, free of mud or standing water. If your horse is stabled, regularly removing manure and soiled bedding will help to maintain a clean and dry environment. If you paddock your horse, then ensure they aren't standing in muddy areas. If the paddock is muddy and soggy, there are a few ways that you can provide a drier footing for your horse where it stands for most of the time. This includes installing rubber/diamond grid matting to aid drainage and keep the ground stable or compacting and filling the ground with a surface that facilitates drainage such as limestone. Also providing adequate paddock shelter will allow your horse to seek a drier environment to stand and rest.

    3. Manage Turnout Time

    Horses that spend extended periods standing in wet or muddy conditions are at a higher risk of developing hoof abscesses. To prevent this, it's important to manage your horse's turnout time. If the weather is wet, limit the amount of time your horse spends outside and provide a dry area for them to stand. If possible, bring them inside during heavy rain or snow. 

    4. Monitor for Lameness

    Lameness is often a sign of a hoof abscess, and early detection can prevent the condition from worsening. Regularly monitor your horse for signs of lameness, such as limping, reluctance to walk or trot, or a change in gait. If you suspect your horse may have an abscess, consult with your veterinarian or farrier as soon as possible.

    5. Provide Proper Nutrition

    Good nutrition is essential for overall hoof health. Ensure your horse's diet is balanced and provides them with the necessary vitamins and minerals to support healthy hooves. This can include adding supplements, such as biotin, to their feed. A healthy hoof is less likely to develop an abscess.

    Preventing hoof abscesses is largely about good management practices. By maintaining good hoof health, providing a clean and dry environment, managing turnout time, monitoring for lameness, and providing proper nutrition, you can help prevent your horse from developing this painful condition. If you suspect your horse may have an abscess, consult with your veterinarian or farrier as soon as possible.

    At Oakford Stockfeeds we are here to help! We routinely have in stock supplements and feed to help your horse have healthy hooves, as well as medical supplies, such as a poultice, to assist your horse if it develops an abscess. 

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