Sunday, December 14, 2008

Do horses' feet get cold in the snow?

(This is a great question that a friend just emailed me. I had to post it!)


Yes, but they have this awesome system in their hooves. Researchers have discovered that horses have a shunt in the main vain at the back of their hoof, that shuts off the flow of blood to the hoof when the temperatures are really low. Then when hoof temp drops to a certain point, the shunt opens temporarily to allow warm blood to flow through it. Then it closes and on and on it goes to keep their hooves from freezing completely. That function is likely part of the reason why horses get laminitis.

So thinking about a steel shoe attached to the hoof, and steel nails driven into it, the steel, it would seem to me, would radiate the cold into the hoof so that system wouldn't function as efficiently. Shoes are a bad deal in the winter time especially in the snow.

I took this picture on a hike in the Little Book Cliffs, near Grand Junction, Colorado. We were looking for wild horses. We found them and it was kind of scary so I didn't get lots of great pictures. If you look closely, you can see the backs of two wild horses grazing on something. I'm not sure what they were eating out there. A little bit of everything I would imagine so that's why I like to feed my horses a variety of different hays. The brown and white horse is a stallion and he was a little bit snorty about us getting too close to his family. So we didn't.

So now I'm wondering if a foundered horse's hooves would freeze in the snow because the circulation in a foundered hoof isn't functioning normally....hmm. Or would the cold help them feel better. Somehow I don't think so, but I don't know?


Latigo Liz said...

Great post! I want more info! :)

Any thoughts on the Durasole product?

Pat said...

Hi Liz,

Thank you for your nice comment!

"Formaldehyde is the primary fixing agent in Durasole and it causes proteins to crosslink in a meshwork, stabilizing the protein mass and preserving morphology..."

That's from their website. Whatever the heck it means, I sure wouldn't put formaldehyde on my horse's hooves.

It penetrates living tissue and anything that penetrates living tissue that could cause harm, won't get near my horses hooves.

If it isn't something herbal, something they might step on while wondering around out in the wild, I won't use it.

True, I do use MILD (2% or less) iodine when there is funky stuff going on like thrush. But it doesn't harm living tissue, yet it is anti bacterial and seems to have antifungal properties and bottom line, it's cheap and easy, just clean the hoof and spray it on.

Besides that, tea tree oil and other natural treatments like that are basically what I use on my horse unless I'm fighting a sitution that calls for more drastic measures. Still I try to keep it natural.

Oil of Oregano is a great natural antifungal agent and really works on thrush and white line.

I mix it with lots of other weird herbal things and experiment on my horses and myself. One of these times I'm going to concoct the perfect cure for whatever ails domestic hooves and human toenails.

Have you ever known anyone who has had their toe nails pulled out because that fungus stuff got underneath the nail? I'm working on finding an herbal cure for that so it doesn't have the cure isn't so painful.

I know, I'm a weirdo:0)

firecoach said...

Hi Pat,
Do you take Oil of Oregano internally? We had a flu going around that really had a punch here at work. I took Oil of Oregano and it really helped to not get really sick. My husband Chris who is a Paramedic and is exposed to a lot of bugs find it helps him too.
I have used Clean Trax to help clear up Cowboy's persistant thrush, Tea Tree Oil did not clear it up. But I wonder about the Oil of Oregano.

Pat said...

I haven't tried taken it internally. I never even thought of it. Doesn't it taste kind of yucky? It sure does work on thrush though. That's weird that the Tea Tree Oil didn't work for you. I've been blown away by how fast it's worked on the worst cases of thrush. But then you have to wonder about the possibility of different strains of thrush, or the strength of the oil used also.

I've heard of people having good luck with Clean Trax also, but I've never used it. I keep a bottle of White Lightening handy, but have never used it either. Maybe I should just use it on Forrest and see what happens. His white line infection goes all the way up to the coronet, it's very deep.

When I told the gal who recommended the Oxine and Citric Acid mixture how caustic I felt it was and that it didn't work on Forrest. She said it wasn't meant for deep cases of white line infection. The thing is, why would a person use anything that caustic on surface cases of white line or thrush. Sheesh!