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.
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.
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.
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.