Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Hoof Wall Crack, Parallel to Ground, Horizontal, No Lameness

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

Code Green - Contact Your Vet to Obtain Useful Advice & Resources

    Horizontal hoof cracks (parallel to the ground) are caused by injuries that interrupt hoof wall growth at the coronet, the hairline of the hoof where the hoof wall is generated. Whatever the injury, it happened in the past. The lower the crack on the hoof wall, the older the injury that caused it. The crack grows down about 1 cm per month as the hoof wall grows out. Ultimately, the crack reaches the ground surface of the hoof and wears off or is trimmed off.

    Many things can cause this interruption that turns into a crack, including sole abscesses opening at the coronet, pressure from a boot, or other trauma to the area. Horizontal hoof wall cracks usually are not associated with lameness.

    Your farrier may need to negotiate around the crack in horse shoe nail placement. As a crack grows out toward the ground surface, it may cause the hoof wall to be weak and not hold a nail. Occasionally, a very large crack can destabilize the hoof and requires special shoeing techniques for support as it grows out. Occasionally, horses develop infections under the hoof wall associated with one of these cracks. That would appear as sudden lameness.

    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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