Horse Corns – Common Hoof Problems
Humans aren’t the only ones who get foot corns. Horses can develop them too. The condition may actually be much worse for horses since they never really get to pull their feet out of their shoes for a rest.
Corns in horses are really a type of bruise. A bruise is simply a hoof trauma injury that is caused by impact and appears reddish because of the damaged tissues and blood vessels. Corns in particular appear on the seat of corn which is an area found in between the hoof wall and the bars. The corns can be stand alone dry bruises or they can become moist and infected.
Causes of Horse Corns
The major cause of horse corns are improper horse shoes. Incorrect shoes or tight fitting shoes may cause corns. In some cases, the shoes may be fitted just right but may be left too long on the sole. Aside from the pressure created by the shoes, dirt and debris may also find their way in between the shoes and the sole. This can further increase bruising and corn formation. If a bruise or corn becomes infected, pus may form, resulting in a wet type of corn. Horses that work in hard or graveled terrain may be more prone to bruising and corns.
Signs of Horse Corns
Corns and bruises can easily be detected upon inspection. If you do not regularly inspect the hooves though, you may only be able to suspect the presence of corns based on your horse’s behavior. A lame horse that will hesitate to make strides or move quickly may have corns that are causing some pain. A horse may also try to move differently, preferring not to hit the heels with each step. Lameness in a horse may be more pronounced on hard ground. A hoof tester or pressure applied on the sole may cause the horse some pain.
Even with the presence of obvious hoof corns, you may want to ask a vet to inspect your horse further. The corn may occur coincidentally with other more serious hoof problems such as navicular syndrome.
Treatment of Horse Corns
Corns can simply be scraped off of the sole. If you do not have any experience doing this, you should contact your vet especially if your horse is fidgety and if the corn is infected. Aside from the removal of an infected corn, the horse may have to be provided with antiseptic and antibiotic medication depending on the vet’s assessment. Some horse owners apply poultice on the area. Naturally, your horse has to be kept out of action while the sore spot heals.
To save yourself all the trouble, you can try to prevent horse corns. The first step is to make sure that you have an expert farrier. You should then make sure that the hooves and shoes of your horse are regularly inspected. There should be periods when you allow your horse to go without shoes. It will also help if you handle or ride your horse in a gentler way, avoiding hard or harsh surfaces.