Updated: Jan 25
Heredity, diet, environment, and farriery are the major factors that affect the hoof growth and quality in the horse.
Poor hoof conformation and horn quality may be related to heredity, and affected horses should not be bred. Two types of hoof defects respond to dietary supplementation. Type one ( vacuolar degeneration of the stratum corneum ) responds to biotin supplementation at 15-20 mg/day. Type two ( degeneration of the white line and tubular horn ) may improve with calcium and protein ( alfalfa hay ) supplementation. Any good hoof supplement ( Farriers Formula ) and good alfalfa hay daily resolve both types of hood defects. Methionine ( not to exceed 20 grams daily ) promotes rapid horn growth. Wet horn is weaker than dry horn, and hyperhydration and secondary keratolytic infection are common. Hollow hoof wall syndrome, in which large areas of wall erode. Radical hoof wall resection and topical application of methyl violet or thiomersal tincture are usually required. Many occlusive hoof dressings create an anaerobic environment, which potentiates infection. Dry bedding and an oxygen-permeable hoof dressing containing yucca extract are recommended. Improper farriery may cause hoof wall cracks, sagittal hoof cracks (from the long toe ), or horizontal cracks at the heel quarters ( from insufficient heel cover ). Nails should be driven thru the white line and exit an adequate distance proximal to the shoe.