Nail holes, hoof cracks, white line oh my!
Thankfully, Athena has great hooves. She has been barefoot most of her life and we’ve never had any issues. In January, it became apparent that her barefoot hooves couldn’t take the beating of every day riding, rocky trail rides and gravel around the barn. A groove was starting to form along her white line and I decided it was time to put shoes on her. I’m not going to lie… I really obsessed about whether to move from barefoot to shoes. It turned out to be the right decision.But I did feel sort of like a proud Mom… my Athena is all grown up and wearing big girl shoes! Ahhhh, Sigh.
We had 7 months of everything going great. At our regular farrier appointment in July, our Farrier was trimming away the hoof as usual to prep it for the new shoe and he found a soft spot. As he investigated further, he discovered a white powdery substance. That powder was the hoof wall crumbling from the bacteria/fungus eating the laminae and the hoof wall separating from the laminae and coffin bone. As he continued to dig out the deteriorated hoof, wall the hole just kept getting bigger and going deeper. The bacteria/fungus must have started in a small crack in her hoof along the white line and it just spread up the laminae. It had now progressed to the point where we ended up resecting half of her hoof wall and applying a bar shoe to project the hoof.
I am hyper aware of her feet and always treat any cracks, chips, etc I pick her hooves daily and she is on a great diet and in all other ways is very healthy. This just happened to be a fluke incident and with our warm tropical climate it’s the perfect environment for bacteria and fungus to flourish in a closed hoof environment. I was shocked, and devastated but my Farrier assured me this is the best way to get ahead of the problem and insure I can treat the entire area.
I’m grateful Athena has remained sound even while missing half her hoof. It looks terrible! With her hoof wall resected, the majority of the problem had been exposed and cut away. However, I still needed to come up with a treatment protocol that would insure all the bacteria and fungus was truly eliminated. I needed a plan that was easy to do everyday, and manageable without the full structure of a barn environment and the treatments needed to actually work.
Through my research, I found Therazone. This stuff is amazing!!!! It’s a clay mixed with copper sulfate, and vinegar. I store it in the fridge at home and bring it to the pasture with me in a cooler. Pretty easy so far. After I ride and hose Athena down, I take my fingers and scoop out a clump of the semi hardened clay and pack it into the resected part of her hoof. I squish the clay into any crack or hole and smear it around to cover her exposed coffin bone. Because she is in a pasture, I take Equi-tape which is a Kinesiology tape and place a strip of tape over her hoof so that the clay doesn’t get scuffed off by the grass. Equi tape is both breathable and durable so it doesn’t block air flow to the hoof and it stays on.Tada! All done. It stays in place, treating the area all day and night, until I return the next day to treat again.
In just two weeks, I could already see a marked improvement her hoof. The coffin bone looks less dry and more nourished and the hoof wall is growing down quite quickly. It’s been 8 weeks now and the hoof is regrowing nicely. I also apply the clay to the old nail holes and any other cracks, or groves that I find, just as a precaution to keep any potential bacteria from getting into her hoof.
Therazone has been amazing. Easy to use, stays put and works! I’m so glad I found it!