Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Hoof Wall Crack, Blowout

This is a crack that starts at the coronet, usually in a quarter or heel, and extends part way down the hoof wall. You may notice lameness and blood.

Generally, these cracks occur when there is unequal loading of the hoof that causes a quarter or heel to roll under in weight bearing. This may be seen as a consequence of problems of trimming or shoeing, conformation or both.

It is more commonly seen in hooves that are imbalanced medial to lateral, underrun and especially sheared heels. It is also more commonly seen in horses that work at disciplines that heavily load the hooves (racing, jumping and performance horses).

Treatment involves rest, and addressing the mechanical problems that led to the overload and the crack. In most cases, vets do not bridge the crack in any way. It grows out and self-resolves if the mechanical problems are addressed.

QUESTIONS TO ASK MY VET

  • Is there something about the way this horse is shod or trimmed that is causing unequal loading, and the development of this crack?
  • PREVENTION

    Ensure good hoof balance, good hoof quality through nutrition and care. Treat problems of imbalance, underrun and sheared heels so that forces within the hoof do not reach a level that these cracks develop.
    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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