Chipped Sensitive Hooves? Try This Soak in a Pinch

Capital CowHorse came up significantly lame a few weeks ago. Her toes were long and the left front shoe was loose. The vet pulled her shoes for a thorough exam and recommended a decent trim. We discussed whether to reset and decided that if she can be barefoot, she should.

I called the farrier, and left town for a week. When I returned, there seemed to be separation between the horn and the sole. It wasn’t clear whether this was biological (a fungus or bacteria degrading the laminae of the white line), mechanical (long toes, loose shoes, and nail holes), or chemical (a nutrient deficiency). But even if it’s one of the latter, a secondary infection would only exacerbate the problem. white line

Within two weeks, her feet looked almost shredded. And she was sore. The left fore was sensitive to hoof testers; and a nerve block to the hoof resolved 90% of the lameness. This vet knows my mare. She suggested soaking with CleanTrax in case there was some white line disease.

Shredded laminae and nail holes.

Shredded laminae and nail holes.

It took a few days to get the product, so in the meantime I thought I’d try a home remedy.

I picked and scrubbed her feet well and tossed a flake of hay in the aisle. I mixed 1 part povidine/iodine 10% (PVP-I) solution (brand name Betadine) with 4 parts lukewarm water in a shallow bucket and soaked each foot for 5 minutes. When I turned her out, she took off. When the excitement of freedom wore off she slowed to a jog. While she wasn’t 100% sound, she was obviously more comfortable.soaking

PVP-I kills bacteria, yeast, fungi, viruses, and mold. And it is astringent. Generations of horsemen have used PVP-I to kill thrush, draw out abscesses, and harden hooves. In a pinch, I will use this soak again. With any luck, I’ll have a barefoot sound horse in no time.

This is NOT a Pony Club approved soaking method...

This is NOT a Pony Club approved soaking method…

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5 thoughts on “Chipped Sensitive Hooves? Try This Soak in a Pinch

    • Thank you. I certainly hope it isn’t. She doesn’t usually, but it was quite wet in May, so some days it was unavoidable. Hopefully a few decent trims and soaks and it will clear up.

  1. Thanks for the soak recipe! Going barefoot is really hard if the horse has had shoes. The feet have to reset themselves. It often took months for TBs who’s shoes we pulled at my old job. But, they did eventually get stronger.

    This is why I am so hesitant to put shoes on Wizard. Even though he gets chips in his feet (not quite as bad as here…), he’s completely sound and his feet stay strong so why ruin it with shoes??

    Anyway ,good luck!

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