Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Q & A Thin soles

Our vet suggested painting a mix of turpentine, formaldehyde and Betadine onto the soles of our stallions hooves. He is still tenderfooted. Is that a good idea or not? My instinct says it wouldn't do him much good, his soles are just thin. That's not going to get material to grow, and could hurt him instead? I just wanted your opinion before we really mess him up with something that shouldn't be done.

NOPE! That is not a good idea. You figured correctly.

It blows my mind that there are vets out there still prescribing this combination of caustic chemicals for horse's hooves. It seems that they feel like they're dealing with chunks of wood with a bone inside. Isn't there some sort of creed they swear to about harming living things?

It would seem that combinatons like that, turpentine and formaldehyde could harm living tissue. The Betadine would likely not be hurtful, I use mild iodine (1 to 2% at most) in my practice for treating thrush, and as a precautionary measure to keep thrush from invading tissue when I’ve had to trim away flappy frog material. (I DO NOT routinely cut away the outer layer of frog material which is the pradice of some farrier’s, because anytime you carve the outer – protective layer of a frog you open it up to harmful bacteria that can lead to thrush and other problems. And you will notice, over time the frog literally atrophies to a thin strip when it’s been cut away routinely. Apparently, it just gives up trying to bounce back to a nice wide healthy frog.

The combination of caustic agents that your vet is suggesting is an old horse-shoers’ trick to harden soles. But it can really backfire on many levels. And heck fire! You can always blame something else if the horse reacts negatively to it.

I’m just left to wonder why it would cause the soles to harden. Is the sole steeling itself to the agents that burn? And if it really does work, I wonder, do vets or farriers know why?

My dad used to tell me that he de-wormed his dogs with things like turpentine and chewing tobacco and my parents treated an assortment of animal related issues with used motor old. Why used? The only thing I can think of is that people were very conservative after the depression era. You wouldn’t have wasted new motor oil on the livestock!

Rule of thumb! If you wouldn’t put it on your dogs’ or cats’ paws, don’t put it on your horse’s hooves!

If your horse’s soles are still thin and tender, then his healthy angles likely haven't been established from coronet to the ground, which can take time. But if it's been awhile, another factor to pay close attention to is diet.


lytha said...

i am waiting for someone to say something about keralit (keratex in the US).

so far, nothing...


Mikey said...

Oh boy, amen to that. I can't believe people still do that, and it seems terribly harmful. I've heard all those old tricks, like worming with Copenhagen. Sheesh.
Seems like we can do better.
Personally, I'd say, seriously, look at some of the new products out, like Sole-Guard made by Vettec. Simple padding for barefoot horses. I just used this on several horses and I can't recommend it enough. It REALLY made a difference. Says it lasts 3-4 weeks, but ours went 5. Was worth the cost.
If there are thrush issues, there's a thrushbuster version, and it's meant to stay in. Both of these products are the best thing I've seen lately to provide protection for the sole.
Good post!

Pat said...

Hi Lytha,

I actually haven't seen Keratex on store shelves around here. I Googled it and found info, but not ingredients. If you know the ingredients, I'd like to see a list. From their website:
Keratex Hoof Hardener is a gentle acting chemical formulation which forms additional intermolecular bonds between molecules of keratin through the process of cross-linking. Keratin is the main protein constituent of horn and is best described as the building block of the horn structure.

The cross-linking process results in additional atoms being distributed between the keratin molecules to produce a tougher and stronger horn structure.

Many other products claim to strengthen the hoof, but usually this entails a superficial layer of resin or varnish. Keratex Hoof Hardener works by actually improving the structure of the horn itself.

Since Hoof Hardener is neither a varnish or resin layer, it leaves no visible coating. Therefore the treated hoof is able to breathe and function naturally.

Thanks for mentioned that. What do you think about Keralit?

lytha said...

well, as far as i know, keralit is formaldehyde. you're supposed to paint it along the nailholes if you use shoes, and on the sole, and not touch the frog unless it's diluted.

it seems to work, i've used it on soles to toughen them up. i've looked and looked on the ironfreehoof.com and hoofrehab.com sites, and can't find anything about it.


lytha said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jeanne said...

I bought a mare in 2005. She got her first trim about a month after she arrived. She went horribly lame right after the trim and stayed that way. She was examined and x-rayed by a couple of different vets and farriers. After ruling out all the biggies, it was determined she had a very thin solar base, contracted hooves, and her angles had been too high. I was told she needed to develop her hooves and that she'd need corrective shoes the rest of her life.

I resisted the suggestion to shoe her because something inside of me said it would compromise the integrity of the hoof wall. I sought alternatives and found the AANHCP. The diagnosis: insulin resistance. We changed her diet and got her on a good natural trim program. It took several weeks before improvement began, but it was a miracle. To protect her soles in the process, she wore boots for awhile.

Three years later, she's not 100% but her hoof issues are completely resolved. She has a very thick solar base, wide hooves, and a good frog. We think there is something going on elsewhere that's causing the slight bit of lameness that remains.

So, personally, I say, take the time it takes to build up the hoof rather than going to quick fix band-aids like formaldehyde. It's better for the horse and the results are more authentic. Good luck!

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