Generally, if there is an issue with your horse’s feet you call your farrier, right? However, do you know what issues or signs would warrant veterinary assistance?
- Excessive recumbency / laying down for extended periods of time
- Shifting weight between limbs continuously, or holding a limb out in front, or avoiding placing weight through one limb in particular
- Swelling of the lower limbs and/or heat in the hoof or lower limbs
- Penetrating object or wound into the sole or coronary band eg. Nail, wire, stick
- Head bobbing when walking or trotting the horse
These are the most common calls we receive from horse owners on a daily basis and the underlying cause can be variable.
- Laminitis (“Founder”)
- Hoof abcessation
- Penetrating injury eg. Standing on nail or stick
- Misalignment or poor conformation leading to imbalances
- Chronic conditions eg. Arthritis, Navicular Syndrome
Early veterinary assessment and intervention can be crucial in ensuring a rapid recovery as the above issues can present with similar symptoms. Thorough examination and diagnostic tests such as nerve/joint blocks and imaging (radiographs, ultrasound) can determine the cause for your horse’s pain and determine the most effective treatment plan. Delaying appropriate treatment may result in progression of the condition which then requires more extensive and costly treatment.
What to do whilst waiting for the vet?
- Confine your horse or prevent unnecessary movement
- First aid – apply a protective wrap to wounds to prevent contamination
- In extreme cases, even a clean towel can be used to provide protection from dirt/debris if you do not have bandaging material on hand
- Always speak to your vet FIRST before giving medications eg. Bute / pain relief
- Puncture wounds to sole of hoof
- Where possible, leave the foreign body in place as this will help the vet determine if vital structures are involved
- If the object falls out or is removed, bring with you to show vet and take photo of where object penetrated the hoof
If you’re ever in doubt, our team are always happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have regarding your horse’s health and wellbeing.