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Hoof Problems


Are corns and bruises of the hoof the same thing?
No. Constant small repeated pressures to a part of the foot cause corns. These pressures cause a lesion to develop over a period of time. This happens when a horse is poorly shod or properly shod but left for too long a time without resetting or re-shoeing.
A single traumatic blow to some part of the foot causes a bruise. Corns and bruises are both the result of damage to the live inner parts of the foot.

Are corns and bruises caused by the same things?
They are contributed to by very similar practices of shoeing and trimming the feet otherwise, no.
A foot trimmed with removal of a lot of sole and frog tissue also removes the protective cover over the sensitive part of the foot, thus contributing to possible bruising. A foot trimmed for shoeing this way and then shod with a shoe that fits 'close' at the quarter and heel is likely to develop corns. A horse properly shod, but whose shoes are not reset or replaced soon enough, will possibly have a hoof wall that will overgrow the shoe at the heels and develop a corn.

Horse shod to close, allowing bearing surface of the heel to overgrow the shoe. This can result in the development of corns.

Faulty shoeing leading to the formation of corns. When shoes are not reset or replaced frequently enough, the heels may overgrow the shoe causing excessive pressure on the sole at the heels.

How will the veterinarian diagnose bruises and corns?
The veterinarian's diagnosis is usually clinical, i.e., without laboratory or X-ray aids. Lameness is probably the first sign noted. When a hoof tester is used by the veterinarian to examine the foot, localized pressure sensitivity will be found. Then he will use a hoof knife to cut down on the sensitive area until visual evidence is found. A red or reddish-yellow discoloration and, in some cases, clear yellowish fluid may be present. This would be diagnostic for bruising of the foot or a corn. A pus filled abscess in this area can be sterile, if caused by a bruise, or infected, if caused by a puncture wound. However, if the cause is unknown, it should be treated as an infected abscess.

What is meant by dry, moist and suppurating?
Dry - A hemorrhage on the inner surface of the horn resulting from bruising of sensitive tissue which usually causes red stains in the involved area.

Moist - This is caused by a severe injury which results in serum beneath the injured horn.

Suppurating - An abscess resulting in necrosis (death) of the sensitive sole or the digital cushion and subsequent drainage of pus.

How are bruised sole and corns treated?
If improper shoeing or overgrown feet are the cause, simply taking off the shoe and trimming will alleviate the problem. However, veterinary advice is required for all phases of treatment. For dry corns, relieving the pressure from the affected area and promoting frog pressure is the answer. If it is suppurating, drainage should be provided by removing the undermined part of the sole. A tetanus injection is needed. Daily antiseptic soaks or topical antibiotic application and bandaging follow. After the infection is controlled, an antiseptic pack should be placed in the cavity and a metal or leather sole placed between the shoe and the foot. A wide-webbed shoe may be helpful with corns to protect the area without exerting pressure on it.

Wide webbed shoe

Normal web shoe

Wide webbed shoe set full to protect corns.

Normal web shoe.

What is the prognosis in cases of corns and bruised sole?
The prognosis is good if the condition can be corrected before any permanent damage or bone involvement occurs. However, some cases do tend to become chronic which can lead to osteitis (inflammation) of the coffin bone. Indeed, this should be suspected if bruised sole does not respond to treatment.

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