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Thrush is a very common bacterial infection that occurs on the hoof of a horse, specifically in the region of the frog. The bacterium involved is Fusobacterium necrophorum ,and occurs naturally in the animal's environment — especially in wet, muddy, or unsanitary conditions, such as an unclean stall — and grows best with low oxygen. Horses with deep clefts, or narrow or contracted heels are more at risk of developing thrush.
The most obvious sign of thrush is usually the odor that occurs when picking out the feet.Additionally, the infected areas of the hoof will be black in color (even on a dark-horned hoof), and will easily break or crumble when scraped with a hoof pick. When picking the hooves around thrush areas, the differences between healthy and infected areas can be seen when white/gray tissue (healthy frog) is surrounding a dark, smelly (infected) area.
Most horses do not become lame if infected with thrush. However, if left untreated, the bacteria may migrate deeper into the sensitive parts of the hoof, which will result in lameness. Then, the horse may also react when its feet are picked out, and blood may be seen.
Treatment for horses with thrush includes twice-daily picking of the feet, taking special care to clean out the two collateral grooves and the central sulcus. The feet may then be scrubbed clean using a detergent and/or disinfectant and warm water, before the frog is coated with a commercial thrush-treatment product, or with iodine solution, which may be soaked into cotton balls and packed into the clefts.Several home remedies are used, such as a hoof packing of a combination of sugar and betadine, powdered aspirin, borax, or diluted bleach. It is best, however, to speak with the horse's veterinarian, to be sure these home remedies are effective and, more importantly, safe for use on horses.
Horses with thrush, or those at risk for contracting it, are best kept in a dry, clean environment. Daily cleaning of the hooves also contributes to the prevention of thrush.In general, thrush is relatively easy to treat, although it can easily return and it can take up to a year for a fully healthy frog to regrow after a severe infection.
A horseshoe is a fabricated product, normally made of metal, although sometimes made partially or wholly of modern synthetic materials, designed to protect a horse hoof from wear. It is an asian invention, the oldest examples of horseshoes dating back to ancient Assyrian empire. Shoes are attached on the palmar surface of the hooves, usually nailed through the insensitive hoof wall that is anatomically akin to the human toenail, although much larger and thicker. However, there are also cases where shoes are glued.
Orf is an exanthemous disease caused by a parapox virus and occurring primarily in sheep and goats. It is also known as contagious pustular dermatitis, infectious labial dermatitis, ecthyma contagiosum, thistle disease and scabby mouth. Orf virus is zoonotic—it can also infect humans.
A hoof, plural hooves or hoofs, is the tip of a toe of an ungulate mammal, strengthened by a thick and horny keratin covering.
Laminitis is a disease that affects the feet of ungulates and is found mostly in horses and cattle. Clinical signs include foot tenderness progressing to inability to walk, increased digital pulses, and increased temperature in the hooves. Severe cases with outwardly visible clinical signs are known by the colloquial term founder, and progression of the disease will lead to perforation of the coffin bone through the sole of the hoof or being unable to stand up requiring euthanasia.
Navicular syndrome, often called navicular disease, is a syndrome of lameness problems in horses. It most commonly describes an inflammation or degeneration of the navicular bone and its surrounding tissues, usually on the front feet. It can lead to significant and even disabling lameness.
There are many aspects to horse care. Horses, ponies, mules, donkeys and other domesticated equids require attention from humans for optimal health and long life.
A cloven hoof, cleft hoof, divided hoof or split hoof is a hoof split into two toes. This is found on members of the mammalian order Artiodactyla. Examples of mammals that possess this type of hoof are cattle, deer, pigs, antelopes, gazelles, goats, and sheep. In folklore and popular culture, a cloven hoof has long been associated with the Devil.
The frog is a part of a horse's hoof, located on the underside, which should touch the ground if the horse is standing on soft footing. The frog is triangular in shape, and extends mid way from the heels toward the toe, covering around 25% of the bottom of the hoof.
A horse hoof is a structure surrounding the distal phalanx of the 3rd digit of each of the four limbs of Equus species, which is covered by complex soft tissue and keratinised (cornified) structures. Since a single digit must bear the full proportion of the animal's weight that is borne by that limb, the hoof is of vital importance to the horse. The phrase "no hoof, no horse" underlines how much the health and the strength of the hoof is crucial for horse soundness.
Fusobacterium necrophorum is a species of bacteria responsible for Lemierre's syndrome and other medical problems.
Chronic progressive lymphedema (CPL) is a disease of some breeds of draft horse, whereby the lower legs becomes progressively more swollen. There is no cure; the aim of treatment is to manage the signs and slow progression of the disease. The cause of CPL is not known, although it is suspected that a genetic disorder of elastin metabolism prevents the lymphatic vessels from functioning properly, leading to edema of the lower limbs. CPL resembles the human disease elephantiasis verrucosa nostra.
Foot rot, or infectious pododermatitis, is a hoof infection commonly found in sheep, goats, and cattle. As the name suggests, it rots away the foot of the animal, more specifically the area between the two toes of the affected animal. It is extremely painful and contagious. It can be treated with a series of medications, but if not treated, the whole herd can become infected. The cause of the infection in cattle is two species of anaerobic bacteria, Fusobacterium necrophorum and Bacteroides melaninogenicus. Both bacteria are common to the environment in which cattle live, and Fusobacterium is present in the rumen and fecal matter of the cattle. In sheep, F. necrophorum first invades the interdigital skin following damage to the skin, and causes interdigital lesions and slight inflammation. The second stage of the disease is marked by the invasion of the foot by the foot rot bacterium Dichelobacter nodosus, a Gram-negative anaerobe. Usually, an injury to the skin between the hooves allows the bacteria to infect the animal. Another cause of foot rot may be high temperatures or humidity, causing the skin between the hooves to crack and let the bacteria infect the foot. This is one of the reasons foot rot is such a major problem in the summer. Foot rot is easily identifiable by its appearance and foul odor. Treatment is usually with an antibiotic medication, and preventing injury to the feet is the best way to prevent foot rot.
A hoof boot is a device made primarily of polyurethane and is designed to cover the hooves of a horse as an alternative to, and occasionally in addition to, horseshoes. Hoof boots can also be used as a protective device when the animal has a hoof injury that requires protection of the sole of the hoof, or to aid in the application of medication. There are many different designs, but all have the goal of protecting the hoof wall and sole of the horse's hoof from hard surfaces, rocks and other difficult terrain.
Horse grooming is hygienic care given to a horse, or a process by which the horse's physical appearance is enhanced for horse shows or other types of competition.
Lameness is an abnormal gait or stance of an animal that is the result of dysfunction of the locomotor system. In the horse, it is most commonly caused by pain, but can be due to neurologic or mechanical dysfunction. Lameness is a common veterinary problem in racehorses, sport horses, and pleasure horses. It is one of the most costly health problems for the equine industry, both monetarily for the cost of diagnosis and treatment, and for the cost of time off resulting in loss-of-use.
Natural hoof care is the practice of keeping horses so that their hooves are worn down naturally and so do not suffer overgrowth, splitting and other disorders. Horseshoes are not used, but domesticated horses may still require trimming, exercise and other measures to maintain a natural shape and degree of wear.
A cow hoof is cloven, or divided, into two approximately equal parts, usually called claws.
The limbs of the horse are structures made of dozens of bones, joints, muscles, tendons and ligaments that support the weight of the equine body. They include two apparatuses: the suspensory apparatus, which carries much of the weight, prevents overextension of the joint and absorbs shock, and the stay apparatus, which locks major joints in the limbs, allowing horses to remain standing while relaxed or asleep. The limbs play a major part in the movement of the horse, with the legs performing the functions of absorbing impact, bearing weight, and providing thrust. In general, the majority of the weight is borne by the front legs, while the rear legs provide propulsion. The hooves are also important structures, providing support, traction and shock absorption, and containing structures which provide blood flow through the lower leg. As the horse developed as a cursorial animal, with a primary defense mechanism of running over hard ground, its legs evolved to the long, sturdy, light-weight, one-toed form seen today.
Digital dermatitis is a disease that causes lameness in cattle. It was first discovered in Italy in 1974 by Cheli and Mortellaro. This disease is caused by a mixture of different bacteria. Anaerobic bacteria, including spirochetes of the genus Treponema, are found in the lesions associated with the infection. Digital dermatitis is different from foot rot in cattle and both conditions may occur concurrently.
White line disease is a fungal infection of the horse's hoof. As the name suggests, it attacks the white line, which connects the sole to the hoof wall. It is sometimes mistaken for hoof wall separation disease, but is not to be confused because it is not genetic nor as severe.