Our 2yo, hopefully bred, heifer has developed a vertical hoofcrack. We just noticed it. It seems to cause her no discomfort - no sign of lameness. It starts at the coronet and goes about 1/3 of the way down her front claw. Looking around on the internet, I found that this is common in beef cattle, rare in dairy cattle, can be benign or can cause lameness - may signal a biotin deficiency. She spends all her time on grassy pasture - no concrete or rocks or mud this summer. However, this winter will be a challenge because things do get muddy and sloppy. How do we keep bacteria out of this? Could we clean it out, squirt some "Today" into it and seal it with silicone caulk or something? I called the hoof trimmer yesterday. He's 70 yrs old, hasn't seen anything like this. She is due for a trim here in the next month so he'll get to see her in person. He suggested having a vet look at it.
Any thoughts? Any experience with something like this?
it looks to me like she has had an injury to the coronary band and it is causing the hoof to grow like that, if that is the case it will always grow that way. I have a mare with a weird chunk of hoof that grows because of an injury before I bought her, and I had one that I lost that had a severe injury to her coronary band and the hoof did the same thing Suzanne
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Oh Suzanne, I hope that's not the case. I feel so dismally sad looking at this, wondering what will happen as it grows out and this crack gets close to the weight bearing surface. A vet? Haha. The vets who do dairy in the area come from Ohio State, 90 minutes away, and I doubt I could get somebody out, let alone afford it.
Perhaps a professional hoof trimmer who's been to hoof trimming "school" would know about this. You might call around and ask, if it will cost you only your time. Dairy hoof trimmers often have remedial techniques for hoof problems, kind of like hoof vets.
"Vertical wall cracks are usually benign lesions. However, when they do cause pain resulting in lameness, it is necessary to carefully trim the edges of the lesion (to the depths of the corium if necessary) to remove all foreign debris within the fissure. Pain usually occurs from movement of the wall horn edges that results in pinching of the corium (the sensitive tissue). The application of a foot block is required to relieve pain associated with the vertical crack in a weight-bearing claw and to stabilize the wall horn edges to promote new horn formation and healing. On occasion, lesions and lameness become chronic problems which may require surgical options."
I would have the trimmer come take a look at her to see if anything is strange, get her trimmed, and get a hoof block to see if you can't take the pressure off the bad area for it to heal and grown out normally. But with a crack that far up the hoof the healing and new healthy hoof will be a long time coming, so it may be a long process of trimmings and new hoof blocks for a while.
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The last time we had our horses shod, we used an old guy that actually used to teach at a ferrier school. One of our horses had white line desease, which is like nail fungus. He cleaned the dead tissue out, then packed it with cotton drenched in alcohol/formaldehide mix (don't quote me on this, I'l give him a call if anyone wants to know for sure) and then sealed it with something that looked like semi-clear silicone calk. He said that it would harden up and keep the hoof together. Maybe that could be something your ferrier can do on this crack.
This looks like any injury, and it will take a long time for the affected hoof area to grow out. The good news is that it doesn't LOOK, in this photo, like the coronet band is permanently damaged (so the hoof would always grow out deformed/improperly). If the coronet is normal, or only very mildly affected, she shouldn't have any trouble once the crack has grown out. The fact that she's currently sound is a very good sign. I'd give her a Tetanus booster vaccine and just keep an eye on the hoof. As long as she's sound, it isn't getting worse, and there's no sign of infection, I wouldn't do anything else (unless you can see bone or something equally as alarming through the crack!). If she comes up lame on this foot, I'd reevaluate and treat accordingly. I like the idea of raising the good claw up on a hoof block if she goes lame, so the bad claw is elevated and not bearing weight. This doesn't look like a brand new injury either, so hopefully the worst (most painful) part is past. Hope she does well with no lameness issues. Best of luck.
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