Lacerations to the Horse's Hoof Wall

May 4, 2005 (published) | December 5, 2016 (revised)

One of the common injuries veterinarians see in horses is one in which the hoof wall is detached from the underneath tissue that is correctly called an avulsion of the hoof wall. Some of these injuries involve only the hoof wall while others also involve the coronary band. If the hoof wall has become detached from the underneath tissue, it must be removed surgically. If the coronary band is involved, sometimes it can be sutured. It is important to have your vet examine any wound to the foot as there are a lot of serious structures in the hoof that can be deadly if involved. Your vet will check to make sure that no joints or tendon sheaths are involved and also to clean and flush the area well.

The hoof will likely have to be numbed with local anesthetic to carefully examine the area and if no other structures are involved, skin and coronary band tissue can be sutured and the hoof wall that has become detached can be removed. The hoof is then bandaged with antibiotic medication. In some cases, the hoof wall can become completely unattached and has to be surgically removed. Even in this case, the horse can survive if the wound is treated properly, although that involves a long period of treatment. Failure to treat these hoof wall injuries will certainly lead to a defect in the hoof wall that usually lead to lameness. If your horse has an injury to the hoof wall or to any area on the lower leg, remember that wounds in this area can be deadly. It is important to call your vet and have all of these wounds examined immediately as delaying treatment of those wounds can be very serious.

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