Five Tips for Hoof Abscess Recovery

With the development of a hoof abscess, an energetic and active horse can suddenly become severely lame. It can happen quickly, painfully, and with no prior signs of a problem. Finding your horse in this state can be terrifying, especially if you’ve had little experience dealing with a hoof abscess. Luckily, with time, patience and proper treatment most horses will fully recover. In this blog, we will discuss five tips that can be utilized to assist in your horse’s recovery.

5 Tips for Hoof Abscess Recovery

1. Follow Veterinarian and Farrier Instructions

The treatment and recovery from a hoof abscess require a team effort from the farrier, veterinarian and the horse owner. The horse owner’s role and compliance among this team is vital to the horse’s recovery.  The responsibilities of day-to-day maintenance and the required care important for recovery fall on the horse owner’s shoulders. Neglecting these responsibilities can hinder the healing process or even create a more severe issue. It is also important that the horse owner trusts the decisions and treatment methods mapped out by the veterinarian and farrier.

2. Protect the Abscess Exit Wound

The pain that occurs from an abscess is due to exudate buildup that creates pressure within the hoof. To relieve the pain and begin healing, this pressure must be relieved.  Many treatment methods involve the surgical draining of the hoof abscess by the veterinarian. In some cases, the buildup will rupture out of the coronary band on its own. In either case, there will be an open wound where the pressure was relived. This wound is an open source for microbial invasions and debris to enter. This is especially true if the wound is located on the sole of the hoof. Infections, new abscesses or other issues can develop if the wound is not properly treated.

Your farrier or veterinarian may advise you to wrap the hoof depending on the location of the exit wound. If this is the case, follow their instructions carefully and regularly change the wrapping. Once the abscess has completely stopped draining, packing the exit wound with an anti-microbial clay may also be recommended. Packing the wound with a product, such as like Life Data® Hoof Clay®, not only assists in keeping out foreign material but the non-caustic ingredients in Life Data® Hoof Clay® will kill bacteria. It is also made using natural porous clay which will not block oxygen to the hoof.

  • *Do not utilize a hoof packing or topical that contains harmful chemicals or that blocks oxygen to the hoof.

3. Promote Hoof Quality

A hoof abscess will compromise the integrity, structure and quality of the hoof. The goal is to rebuild hoof quality to where it was, or better than it was before the abscess. This can be accomplished by adding a proven hoof supplement, such as Farrier’s Formula®, to your horse’s diet. Farrier’s Formula® will assist in the recovery by providing the nutrients essential for new and healthy hoof growth. Farrier’s Formula® will also develop a stronger hoof with a denser hoof wall and sole, making it more resilient to infections. Even after the hoof has regrown, we advise the continue feeding of Farrier’s Formula® to maintain hoof quality and to help prevent future hoof abscesses from developing. You can learn more about the relationship between hoof quality and recurring hoof abscesses by reading our previous blog article.

You may also want to examine your horse’s diet during this time. Since your horse is not as active it may require less calories to maintain its current body weight. Overweight horses tend to have more hoof problems due to the extra weight the hooves are supporting. Switching your horse to its “basic diet” of grass and hay with support from a ration balancer, like Barn Bag®, can provide the daily nutrients needed without the excess in calories. You can feed Farrier’s Formula® and Barn Bag® together without the risk of over supplementation.

 You can follow the link here to learn more about the importance of a balanced equine diet.

4. Manage Environmental Conditions

The environment can make it more difficult for your horse’s hoof to heal after an abscess. As previously mentioned, the exit wound from the abscess acts as an entry point for microbial invasions and debris. Exposing your horse to excess moisture, urine, feces and mud will predispose your horse to continued infection. Keeping clean stalls, dry bedding, and limiting the hoof’s exposure to wet and muddy conditions assist in healing and maintaining the health of the hoof.

Utilizing a non-caustic hoof topical, such as Farrier’s Finish®, will provide extra protection from the environment and help control moisture balance in the hoof. Farrier’s Finish® contains a blend of Yucca Extract, tamed iodine and Tea Tree Oil for added protection against microbial invasions and the harsh effects of excrement. Farrier’s Finish® can also be applied over Life Data® Hoof Clay®.

Lastly, pay attention to the type of terrain surrounding your horse. Hard surfaces and rocky environments can typically further wear down the hoof. This wear and tear lead to the development of cracks, chips and other hoof defects. Loose pebbles and gravel can penetrate these defects or the recovering abscesses wound, thus creating another infection. This is especially important during recovery when the hoof may still be weakened and tender.

5. Maintain a Farrier and Maintenance Schedule

It is vital that you continue scheduling regular farrier appointments. Ensuring your horse’s hooves are balanced and, if needed, supported with the correct shoes will assist in the healing process. Your farrier will also monitor the recovery of the hoof and manage any other issues that may arise. With hoof abscesses it is typical for horses to unevenly distribute weight to relieve pressure off the infected hoof. In doing so, your horse’s other hooves become more susceptible to many hoof related issues such as cracks, splitting, laminitis and additional abscesses. Your farrier will help mitigate this issue through balancing and maintaining the other hooves.

Your farrier is not the only one responsible for your horse’s hooves. It is ideal that every horse owner ensures their horse’s hooves are being properly picked and cleaned daily. This ritual removes unwanted debris and acts as a preventive measure to future infections and hoof problems. Using the Life Data® Hoof Clay® to fill in old nail holes and hoof defects is also a recommended maintenance practice. Additionally, horse owners can use it on the white line and around the frog to help protect those areas from infections.

Recovery from a hoof abscess can be a long and drawn out process. There is no easy route, but you can help the recovery along by fulfilling your horse’s needs.  Supporting your horse during this healing time can speed up recovery and build a better more resilient hoof. If you believe your horse is currently suffering from a hoof abscess, please seek the advice of your veterinarian or farrier as soon as possible. The sooner a hoof abscess is found and treated, the faster your horse will recover. If you have any questions on using Life Data® products to prevent hoof abscesses or to assist in recovery, please call us at 1-800-624-1873 or visit our website www.lifedatalabs.com.

The Importance of a Healthy Equine Skin and Coat

As spring arrives, we tend to focus on our horse’s hair coat as they begin to lose their woolly winter coats. And, show season is just around the corner. We put a substantial amount of importance on the outward appearance of our horse, and rightfully so, but your horse’s outward appearance says more about your horse than you may know. Your horse’s beautiful coat is more than a bragging right. The quality of your horse’s hair coat reveals a lot about the overall state of your horse’s health. In fact, a decline in hair coat quality can be one of the first signs of a health-related issue, improper nutrition or poor maintenance.

Brushing Horse with Winter Coat

The Function of the Horse’s Coat

We can’t refer to equine hair without also discussing the equine skin. The horse’s hair coat, mane, tail and skin are all made of dermal tissue. Dermal tissue is the largest organ of the equine body. The hair coat and skin perform functions that contribute to the overall wellbeing and performance of your horse. A healthy hair coat and skin:

  • Helps protect from insects and micro-organisms
  • Insulates the body in colder weather
  • Produces natural oils to reflect sunlight and repel water
  • Cools the horse in warmer weather through sweat production
  • Provides natural beauty

Factors that Affect Equine Skin and Coat Quality

The development and management of a healthy hair coat does not happen overnight. There are several factors that can affect quality. Below are a few examples.

Genetics

  • Genetics is a factor over which we have no control. The genes your horse inherited can be the deciding difference between a beautiful versus a less than perfect hair coat. The goal is to give your horse the best hair coat that genetics can provide.

Nutrition

  • Nutritional deficiencies and/or excesses often contribute to the development of dull, thin, brittle or rough hair coats.
  • Selenium over supplementation will directly affect the quality of not only the skin and coat, but also the hooves. If your horse has poor hoof quality and brittle thin hair, you may want to investigate the amount of selenium in your horse’s diet and have the whole blood selenium levels tested.
  • Utilizing a high-quality hoof supplement, like Farrier’s Formula®, will benefit ALL dermal tissue in the horse including the hooves, hair coat, skin, mane and tail. Farrier’s Formula® will provide the nutrients important for a quality skin and hair coat.

Environment

  • Parasites and microorganisms can interfere with hair growth, causing patchy and brittle hair. Fortunately, with advancements in equine medicine treatment options are available.
  • Insect bites can create itchy irritable skin. This can cause horses to bite or rub the afflicted area, resulting in patchy hair loss. Limited pasture time and sprays can help reduce exposure to insects. Healthy skin is more resilient to irritation from insect bites.
  • Long exposure to the sun may dull the color of your horse’s coat.
  • Long exposure to wet and muddy environments can cause the development of sores, hair loss, microbial infections and parasites.
Horse biting itchy skin

Disease and Equine Conditions

  • Different equine illnesses, diseases, and skin conditions can directly affect hair growth or even cause hair to fall out. A dull or brittle hair coat is not an uncommon side effect caused from an illness.
  • Some medications may also cause hair loss or a patchy coat. Check with your veterinarian if you begin to see this side effect.

Improper Maintenance

  • Neglecting your horse’s hygiene could negatively impact your horse’s hair coat and skin. A good grooming regimen is essential to a wonderful hair coat.
  • Excessive bathing, shampooing and conditioning can also strip the horse’s coat of important natural oils. This can result in a duller hair coat. It’s important to follow label instructions and leave the “deep cleaning” to important events or extreme dirt.
  • Lastly, consider the tools you are using in your grooming regimen and their purpose. For example, currycombs massage the skin which stimulates the production of the skin’s natural oils, whereas softer brushes are more effective at helping distribute those oils across the body of the horse. Using these combs in tandem, even during the winter when the coat is thickest, can help bring out the coat’s natural shine.  

Although many factors can negatively impact your horse’s skin and hair coat; balanced nutrition, environmental control and proper maintenance can help develop a coat that is truly breath-taking. Utilizing these factors to their fullest takes hard work and time but can create a coat worth remembering.

If your horse is losing hair or has developed a skin condition, consult with your veterinarian to ensure there is no underlying problem. Contact us at 1-800-624-1843 if you have any questions on utilizing a hoof and coat supplement, such as Farrier’s Formula®, to improve your horse’s hair coat.

A THRUSHY Hoof Isn’t a HEALTHY Hoof.

Horse Hoof with mild thrush

My horse’s hooves are healthy. They just have a little bit of Thrush,” is a statement we hear too often. Unfortunately, Thrush has become such a common occurrence for the domesticated horse that many horse owners do not give it the levity it deserves. It is important that the horse owner understands, a hoof with any amount of Thrush is NOT a healthy hoof!

In short, Thrush is a microbial invasion of the sulci, or the grooves surrounding the frog, that often leads to an infection in the tissue of the frog. In previous blogs we have discussed what causes Thrush. Your horse’s hooves can be predisposed to Thrush by:

  • High humidity and wet environments
  • Stalls containing urine, excrement and excess moisture
  • Lack of oxygen to the frog area due to packed debris
  • Poor hoof maintenance
  • Improper trimming

Exposing your horse to one or more of these factors can create conditions conducive for Thrush development. Once Thrush has established, address it immediately. Even mild Thrush can become serious quickly.

Thrush, The Hoof and The Horse Owner

The first steps in preventing or treating Thrush is to provide the necessary elements to promote the best quality hoof possible.

The health of your horse’s hooves is not your farrier’s responsibility alone. Treating and preventing Thrush will take joint effort from both you and your farrier. Thrush, and other hoof problems, will likely continue to develop and never resolve if you are not involved in the daily responsibility of caring for your horse’s hooves. Fulfilling this responsibility will help prevent future cases of Thrush. This responsibility can be broken down into three components.

  1. Maintenance
  2. Nutrition
  3. Environment

Hoof Maintenance

There is more to hoof maintenance than scheduling your farrier every six weeks. Proper hoof maintenance is a daily objective that the horse owner must manage.

  • Pick and Clean Hooves
    • A hoof packed with debris creates the perfect anaerobic, or low oxygen, environment for Thrush to develop and spread. As the horse owner, it is your responsibility to ensure your horse’s hooves are being picked clean daily.
    • If you remove the debris daily, Thrush will not likely have a suitable environment to develop.
  • Maintain a Regular Farrier Schedule
    • As mentioned in a previous blog, it is important to maintain a regular farrier schedule. Your farrier can help catch early signs of hoof related issues and assist in treating Thrush. Hooves that are grown out or not trimmed properly can trap unwanted debris, making it more difficult to keep the hoof clean and create an optimal environment for the growth of the anaerobic microbes associated with Thrush.
  • Remove Harmful Hoof Topicals
    • Many “Thrush Killing” hoof topicals on the market are caustic and damage or seal off healthy hoof tissue. This may kill the exposed Thrush microbes on the surface; however, the resulting denatured proteins not only seal the underlying tissue from oxygen, but also create a nutrient medium for any remaining microbes and future microbes to thrive. This often leads to patterns of recurring Thrush.
    • Ensure you are not applying any harmful chemicals. As a rule of thumb, do not utilize anything you would not apply to your own skin.
Cycle of Thrush in horses
The Cycle of Equine Thrush

Equine Nutrition

You may be asking, “What role does Nutrition play when fighting Thrush?” Nutrition plays a vital role in the development of a healthy hoof. A healthy hoof is more resilient to the bacteria that causes Thrush. As the horse owner, it is your responsibility to ensure your horse receives a balanced diet that supports hoof health. You can learn more about proper equine nutrition here.

  • Hoof Supplementation
    • A quality hoof supplement can assist in developing new and healthier hoof growth. The nutrients provided will also strengthen the hoof, making it more resilient to chips and cracks, acting as entry points for the microbial invasions that lead to crumbly hoof horn, White Line Disease and Thrush. This new growth will also quicken the recovery time of the hoof.

Environment

Even with proper maintenance and nutrition, the environment can wreak havoc on your horse’s hooves. Most cases of Thrush are predisposed by environmental conditions. Leaving your horse in wet and mucky areas or in unclean paddocks can quickly destroy the hoof. You will promote chronic Thrush if your horse is regularly being exposed to these environments. It is important to consistently manage the environment surrounding your horse.

Poor environmental conditions for hooves
Poor Environmental Conditions for Hooves
  • Environmental Management
    • Keep stalls clean of excrement and as dry as possible.
    • Limit exposure, if possible, to wet and muddy paddocks and pastures.
    • Regularly apply a non-caustic hoof conditioner to control moisture balance, bind ammonia from excrement and kill bacteria.

When left unchecked, Thrush can become a serious issue and even lead to lameness. It is important to act at the first signs of Thrush and not wait until it becomes more serious. Through proper hoof management, horse owners can not only treat current cases of Thrush but can also prevent future cases from developing. Always consult your farrier and veterinarian if your horse develops any hoof related issue. If you have any questions on treating Thrush or on any Life Data® product, please contact us at cservice@lifedatalabs.com or call us at 1-256-370-7555.

Equine Anhidrosis. What Can be Done?

Horse with Anhidrosis

What is Anhidrosis in Horses?

Anhidrosis in horses can be described as the inability or reduced capacity to sweat. Horses regulate their body temperature, much like we do, primarily through the evaporation of sweat. Anhidrosis can have a tremendous effect on the horse’s ability to work, perform and function. Without the full capacity to sweat the horse is in danger of:

  • Overheating and having a heat stroke
  • Organ and muscle damage
  • Death

The prevalence of anhidrosis in horses has been estimated to be between 2% to 6% of horses. All breeds, ages, sexes and coat colors are at risk. Interestingly, the birth and growth of a foal in a hot and humid climate does not reduce the risk of developing anhidrosis.

Due to varying degrees of sweating between affected horses, anhidrosis can be difficult to recognize by the horse owner or veterinarian. The incidence and potential severity of anhidrosis is higher in hot and humid climates, although anhidrosis can also be an issue in cooler dry areas. Chronic anhidrosis has been linked to atrophy of the sweat glands leading to a permanent loss of sweating ability.

Recognizing Equine Anhidrosis

Anhidrosis effects horses in different degrees which makes recognizing and diagnosing the problem more difficult. For example, one horse may completely stop while other horses might only have a slight reduction in sweating capacity. Only certain body areas of the horse may sweat while others are dry – the horse may still sweat under the mane and under the saddle pad.

Brushing Horse Coat

Here are a few key symptoms of equine anhidrosis:

  • Heavy or labored breathing
  • Flared nostrils
  • Horse begins to pant with an open mouth
  • Body temperature over 104 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Noticeable lack of sweat – other horses may be sweating profusely
  • Lack of energy
  • Refusal to work
  • Desire to seek and remain in the shade
  • Coat is dry to the touch
  • Dry or itchy skin (chronic anhidrosis)

What Causes Anhidrosis in Horses?

Unfortunately, the mechanisms are unknown and research into the cause continues. Many researchers and veterinarians believe the cause is attributed to:

  • Genetics
    • A genetic condition has been implicated – research is currently in progress at the University of Florida Large Animal Hospital
    • Some horses may be born with a reduced number of functional sweat glands
  • Nutrition and Diet
    • Excesses and deficiencies of nutrients can affect the skin and hair coat. Many of these nutritional related issues may also contribute to anhidrosis.  

Treating Equine Anhidrosis

If your horse is becoming over heated or exhausted, there are short-term steps you can immediately take to help cool down the body temperature:

  • Move horse to a shady area or ventilated stall
  • Use portable fans or air conditioning
  • Hose down horse with cold water
  • Provide plenty of cold water to drink

No cure has been discovered for anhidrosis. Products are available on the market that may help enhance the horse’s ability to sweat. Life Data® Sweat Formula contains active ingredients that have produced positive results in most horses with anhidrosis.

Life Data® Anhidrosis Research

Life Data Sweat Formula
Click on Image to Learn More About Life Data® Sweat Formula.

Life Data® Sweat Formula is a new product developed from several years of anhidrosis research at Life Data Labs, Inc. The in-house Life Data® research lab utilizes blood tests and a sophisticated software program to determine the relationship between blood work results and specific conditions in horses. Equipment in the lab analyzes macro and trace mineral content of whole blood in horses to discover any correlations between certain minerals and specific conditions. Through this current research, Life Data® has discovered several consistent correlations between blood test deficiencies and excesses within a group of horses diagnosed with anhidrosis. Life Data® used this research to develop an anhidrosis formula for non-sweating horses. This formula delivers a combination of essential fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins, and minerals to balance the deficiencies and excesses in the typical anhidrotic horse. The active ingredients will help improve skin and sweat gland condition to help regenerate the horse’s ability to sweat. For example, the fatty acids delivered in Life Data® Sweat Formula helps restore the lipids of the sweat gland membranes, which may help the transfer of fluids out of the sweat glands.

Depending on the individual horse the product may require daily administration for a period of several weeks prior to achieving the desired results.

If you believe your horse has anhidrosis it is important to consult with your veterinarian and regulate your horse’s activities. If you have any questions, feel free to email us at cservice@lifedatalabs.com or telephone at 256-370-7555.

Why Farrier’s Formula® Still Works

Nutrient Requirements of the Horse

Although thousands of years have passed since the the days of the wild horse, the genetic makeup of the horse has changed little. Therefore, the nutrient requirements for maintenance have not changed significantly.

What has changed is the involvement of civilizations in altering the environment surrounding the horse. Below are a few examples of these changes.

Horse with Farrier's Formula® Double Strength
  • Physical Demands of the Horse
    • Through work and athletics, we are demanding more from many of our horses. The additional physical demands require the horse to burn calories along with other nutrients for fuel. Additional nutrients are required by the performance horse in hard work.
  • Agriculture
    • Modern agricultural practices have resulted in certain minerals becoming deficient in many of the soils. Grasses and forage that grow in the soil will be deficient in these minerals. Fertilizers and chemical applications have also altered the nutrient composition of soils. The horse grazing our modern fields is predisposed to nutrient imbalances.
  • Domestication of the Horse
    • Ancient horses roamed and grazed a wide variety of forages to satisfy their nutritional requirements. Today we keep our domesticated horses confined to pastures and barns, limiting the diversity of the forages and thereby increasing the likelihood of nutrient deficiencies or excesses.

The resulting dietary nutrient imbalances have likely contributed to the hoof, skin and metabolic problems that are common in horses today. Farrier’s Formula® is formulated to fulfill the deficiencies and correct the nutrient excesses for optimal connective tissue health in horses across the globe.

Life Data® Research

Equine Blood Testing

Through research and laboratory tests, Frank Gravlee, DVM, MS, CNS determined daily nutritional requirements for horses. When developing Farrier’s Formula®, Dr. Gravlee used this research to develop a “complete hoof supplement” that covered the deficiencies or excesses that can create hoof problems.  Dr. Gravlee also determined the proper ratios and proportions of these nutrients so they work together and do not interfere with one another.

A horse must use energy and resources to process nutrients. If the horse has an excess of one nutrient, it must utilize other nutrients to provide the energy required to process the excess. This may cause an imbalance in nutrients. Farrier’s Formula® is properly balanced to eliminate the risk of over supplementation.

Life Data® is committed to continued research to better understand the relationship of nutrients and the health of the horse. We continue using this research to develop products that will improve the well being and health of horses around the world.

Farrier’s Formula® ushered in the concept of “Feeding the Hoof” in the early 80’s and is the gold standard of hoof supplements. The research behind Farrier’s Formula®, the quality ingredients and the nitrogen packaging to preserve the nutrients separate it from other hoof supplements. What establishes Farrier’s Formula® as the “gold standard” is one simple concept, Farrier’s Formula® works.

Complimentary Products

Life Data® has continued developing a range of products that work with Farrier’s Formula® to not only improve the quality of hooves but also improve the overall health of the horse. Farrier’s Formula® can be used as a stand-alone supplement or used in conjunction with other Life Data® products. Farrier’s Formula® can be fed with Barn Bag® Pleasure and Performance Horse Pasture and Hay Balancer. Both products are balanced nutritionally, will not interfere with one another, and will not lead to over supplementation.

Farrier's Formula and Hoof Clay

For building the optimal hoof, feed Farrier’s Formula® with regular applications of Farrier’s Finish® and Life Data® Hoof Clay®. This will provide the nutrients required to build a healthy hoof internally, while protecting new growth from the external environment.

Farrier’s Formula® continues to work because it was designed with the horse’s nutritional needs in mind. If you have any questions on Farrier’s Formula® or any of our other products, feel free to contact us at 1-800-624-1873 or visit our website.

Recommended Treatment for Thrush

Hoof with Thrush

Thrush is often associated with wet and muddy conditions. When conditions are wet and muddy it can be difficult to properly clean out debris around the frog on a regular basis. The rapidly accumulating debris blocks oxygen to the hoof. Thrush results from the invasion of anaerobic microbes that thrive in environments absent of oxygen. If the hoof is not routinely picked and cleaned, oxygen is sealed away from the tissues around the frog thereby providing the anaerobic bacteria with the perfect environment to thrive.

Thrush can be mild or can progress quickly to a severe case. In the more severe cases, the bacteria have penetrated and infected the sensitive tissues of the hoof. The horse often becomes foot-sore and lame.  Mild cases of Thrush can usually be treated with proper management and regular applications of Life Data® Hoof Clay®. The more severe cases may require additional assistance from a farrier or veterinarian.

In treating Thrush we need to be mindful of the products we choose. As mentioned in a previous blog many horse owners will turn to home remedies, but there are several of these you should avoid. Products containing formalin (formaldehyde), copper sulfate, pine tar, iodine crystals, and solvents such as acetone and turpentine are caustic and can chemically burn and damage healthy hoof tissue. If the horse has a severe case of Thrush where sensitive tissue has been affected, the caustic chemicals may cause discomfort. The horse often learns the treatment is painful and may refuse to allow lifting of the foot for treatment. Petroleum based and greasy products which block oxygen should also be avoided.

While treating and preventing Thrush, we recommend Life Data® Hoof Clay® and a regular routine of trimming, cleaning, and maintaining hooves.

So, why do we recommend Life Data® Hoof Clay® in the treatment of Thrush?

  1. Non-Caustic

Life Data® Hoof Clay® is a mild and non-caustic product. Life Data® Hoof Clay® does not contain any chemicals that will burn or harm sensitive or live tissue. In fact, Life Data® Hoof Clay® is so mild that the horse owner can apply it with their bare hands.

  1. Ease of Use

Life Data® Hoof Clay® is easy to use and easy to apply. As mentioned above, due to its non-caustic nature, the Hoof Clay® can be applied with your bare hands. No special tools are required. The texture of the product is pliable, making the product easy to remove from the container for a smooth and even application.

  1. Sticks to the Surface of the Hoof

Regardless if it is the sole of the hoof or the hoof wall, Life Data® Hoof Clay® is designed to stay in place. This is particularly important in the treatment and prevention of Thrush, White Line Disease, and other hoof related issues. By sticking and staying in place, the product can deliver antimicrobials to the problem areas and protect from outside foreign material.

Hoof Clay for Thrush

  1. Stays in Place

Due to its sticky nature, Life Data® Hoof Clay® will stay in place for several days. Even after three or four days, the residual Hoof Clay® will remain effective. Life Data® Hoof Clay® will derive the best results and last longest when used on a hoof that has been cleaned and thoroughly dried prior to application. It is also recommended that the horse is kept in a dry area for thirty minutes before returning to a wet pasture. Farrier’s Finish® can also be applied on top of the Life Data® Hoof Clay® to help repel water and assist in protecting the hoof.

  1. Economical

Many products that boast Thrush treatment and prevention also come with a higher price tag. Life Data® Hoof Clay® is economical. Especially when looking at the price compared to how long it lasts. Even the smallest 10 oz. jar can last a horse owner several weeks depending on how often and how much of the product is used.

  1. Effective Active Ingredients

Life Data® Hoof Clay® contains tea tree oil, tamed iodine, and yucca. These ingredients are highly effective in the defense and control of bacteria; including the bacteria that lead to Thrush.

  1. A Great Team Player

Life Data® Hoof Clay® can be safely used in combination with Farrier’s Finish® and Farrier’s Formula®. Using Life Data® Hoof Clay® and Farrier’s Finish® together is a great combination in protecting the outside hoof from environmental factors. Feeding Farrier’s Formula® helps improve the internal health and quality of the hoof. By using all three together, you are essentially providing the necessary nutrition and protection needed to develop the best possible hoof for your horse.

It is always important to consult with your farrier and veterinarian before treating any kind of hoof related issue. If you have any questions regarding Thrush or Life Data® products, feel free to contact us at 1-800-624-1873. You may also visit our website to learn more about Life Data® Hoof Clay®.

Laminitis & Founder

Laminitis & Founder eBook

The 2nd edition of “Laminitis & Founder” is now available as an eBook download on our website. The book discusses the prevention and treatment of laminitis & founder for the greatest chance of success. Below is a small excerpt from the book:

 

 

 

The foot must be understood before effective treatments will be adopted.

Once there is a more thorough understanding of the anatomy of the foot and the sequence of events in the disease process, effective treatments for laminitis will be adopted. Ineffective fads or unproven treatments will then be discarded because of inconsistent results that also can be dangerous to the health of the horse.

For instance, giving a horse phenylbutazone (Bute) so that it continues to stand and walk on the injured laminar and solar tissues is contraindicated (not advisable). Also, vasodilators will not open crushed blood vessels. Vasodilators will cause the vascular muscle walls to relax and the vessels will actually leak more fluid into the interstitial space to further crush them. Giving a horse anti-histamine and vasoconstrictor drugs is more logical.

Another example: Standing a horse in sand, on foam blocks or putting on a “sole pack” to support the bone is not advisable. If you understand the blood supply of the foot, you will readily see that the sensitive sole will be further damaged by having the horse stand with pressure on the sole. However, transferring weight from the damaged sensitive laminae to the frog using a heart bar shoe is recommended, as there is much less circulation in the tissues under the frog than in those under the sole.

A farrier with knowledge of laminitis and the anatomy of the foot understands how to make and fit a heart bar shoe. A veterinarian with knowledge of anatomy and circulation of the foot will understand not to give pain relievers if this encourages the laminitic horse to remain standing and produce further damage to the internal structures of the foot by compromising circulation to the coffin bone (The Principles of Horseshoeing – P3). When this happens, you may swap a few hours of pain relief for a lifetime of lameness and pain.

This is a difficult decision because of the veterinarian’s emotional and professional responsibility to relieve pain. However, the most effective pain relief is for the horse to lie down in deep bedding. This not only avoids the side effects of pain relief medications, but also facilitates the application of cold packs.

Trust yourself to learn and understand what is best for your unique horse. You have the responsibility to choose the best possible care and make crucial informed decisions for your horse(s) — use it wisely. The informed horse owner can help make decisions with trusted professionals to provide the horse with the greatest chance of getting well.

To download the eBook, visit our website and complete the required form. Once submitted, you will receive an e-mail containing downloadable links to the e-book. Please check your spam and junk folders if you do not receive the e-mail. Contact us at 1-800-624-1873 if you have any questions.

Download the “Laminitis & Founder” eBook

The Relationship Between Hoof Quality and Recurring Hoof Abscesses

Horse lying down

Hoof Abscesses can seem to appear overnight. Yesterday your horse showed no sign of pain, and today he can barely put weight on his foot. If you have never had a horse develop a hoof abscess, count yourself lucky. They can be extremely painful, often leading to severe lameness. Some horses suffer from recurring hoof abscesses that develop frequently.  Although hoof abscesses can be attributed to either the horse’s environment or the health of the hooves, they are often the consequence of a combination of both factors.

The environment is one of the first things that should be looked at if your horse is suffering from regular hoof abscesses. Bacteria can enter the hoof through a sole puncture wound or bruise, a hoof wall crack, an old nail hole, a white line separation, or from nailing a shoe.

A sole abscess is usually the result of a puncture wound from a nail or other foreign object. Bruising of the sole can also predispose the hoof to a sole abscess. Sole abscesses are common and usually break out at the sole surface. Occasionally the abscess will track under the surface of the sole and break out in another area of the sole.

Hoof wall abscesses often develop from foreign material, such as a small pebble, that enters at the white line area and migrates upward through the laminae. Small stones, sand, or gravel can also penetrate through hoof defects such as hoof cracks, crumbling hoof wall, or old nail holes and carry infection. The resulting abscess is often referred to as “gravels” or “gravelling”. The infection created by the migrating pebble will often break out at the coronary band, and with luck the abscess fluid will push out the foreign object.

Prior to opening and/or draining of a hoof abscess, the associated inflammation and fluid is trapped within the rigid confines of the hoof capsule. Intense pain occurs from the building pressure on the sensitive tissues. The pain often leads to reluctance or refusal to bear weight on the affected foot. The affected foot will often feel warmer than usual.

The incidence of hoof abscesses increase when the environment is wet and muddy. Wet conditions and unclean stalls are breeding grounds for bacteria that can create hoof abscesses. Also, the excess moisture will soften the hoof wall and sole making it easier for the bacteria and/or foreign material to penetrate into the hoof capsule.

Look at the environment surrounding your horse. Does your horse spend a lot of time in wet and muddy conditions? Are your regularly cleaning stalls? Does your horse walk on rocky pastures or gravel roads? Reducing your horse’s exposure to these kinds of environments can help reduce the chances of a hoof abscess developing. There are also preventive measures you can take to help protect against these environmental conditions.

  • Regularly clean and maintain your horse’s hooves daily. Remove any foreign material from the sole and around the frog.
  • Feed Farrier’s Formula® on a long-term basis to provide nutrients important for the horse’s immune system and to build a denser hoof wall and sole, increasing the hoof’s resistance to infection.
  • Apply Life Data® Hoof Clay®, a non-caustic antimicrobial packing, to fill in hoof wall cracks, wall defects and old nail holes. If barefoot, apply the clay directly to the white line to block foreign material and bacteria from penetrating.
    • Do not use cotton balls to pack hoof defects or open abscess tracts. Cotton balls leave fibers when removed. These left-over fibers can lead to infection.
    • Do not pack or wrap the hoof with any material that will block oxygen.
  • Apply Farrier’s Finish®, a topical hoof disinfectant and conditioner, to kill bacteria and regulate moisture balance.
    • In wet conditions, add two tablespoons Epson Salt per 16 oz. bottle of Farrier’s Finish® and apply to the hoof wall and sole surface. The product will not only disinfect the hoof capsule, but will also help harden the softened hoof wall and sole to increase the hoof capsule’s resistance to microbial invasion.
    • Ensure the hoof topical is non-caustic. Using caustic materials such as turpentine or formaldehyde can block oxygen and damage healthy tissue.
  • Maintain a regular farrier schedule and ensure hooves are being trimmed properly. Too much time between trimmings will allow the toe to grow out excessively thereby stretching or separating the white line. A separated white line predisposes the horse to gravels.
  • Maintain a proper body weight. The extra weight of an obese horse can place stress on the hooves, stretching the white line and “pancaking” the hoof wall. This weakens the hoof structurally and makes it vulnerable to microbes and foreign material. If your horse is overweight and suffers from recurring hoof abscesses, getting the weight under control could be the first step in the right direction.


[Bob Hill’s horse “Bo” suffered from frequent hoof abscesses. Using a combination of Farrier’s Formula® Double Strength and Barn Bag®, Bob was able to improve Bo’s hoof quality, reduce his weight, and stop the hoof abscesses. You can listen to his full testimonial here.]

There are many factors that affect hoof quality. Genetics, the environment, and nutrition all play major roles. We have already discussed methods you can utilize to protect the hoof from environmental factors that cause hoof abscesses; however proper nutrition also plays an important role in helping prevent hoof abscesses.

A healthy hoof has a denser hoof wall and sole, and is more resilient to microbial invasion and infection. Also the healthier hoof will have less hoof cracks, splits, and other hoof defects for foreign material to enter through. Feeding Farrier’s Formula® can improve hoof health and increase the resilience to these invasions both structurally and by improving immunity. Farrier’s Formula® contains ingredients such as zinc and vitamin C that support the horse’s immune system.

Consult your farrier and/or veterinarian on treatment if you suspect an abscess. Your farrier or veterinarian will work to draw out the hoof abscess with a poultice or to open and drain the abscess. In the case of a gravel, if any foreign material remains within the hoof wall either the abscess will not resolve or it reoccurs on a regular basis. Foreign objects trapped under the hoof wall will usually require a procedure to open up the hoof wall directly over the gravel.

It is also important to protect and disinfect the exit wound. Once the drainage has stopped, packing with Life Data® Hoof Clay® and regularly applying Farrier’s Finish® will help protect the open wound and keep out any unwanted material.

If you have any questions on utilizing Life Data® products to help treat or prevent hoof abscesses, feel free to contact us at 1-800-624-1873 or by e-mailing us at cservice@lifedatalabs.com.


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Read Our Last Blog, “Hoof Health Takes Patience” 

Hoof Health Takes Patience

Hoof Health and CareThere is one important fact to remember when it comes to growing a healthy hoof, it takes patience. Hoof health is a long-term commitment and takes time to develop. It can take up to a year for the average horse to completely regrow a hoof. Depending on the age of the horse and the severity of the hoof’s condition, it could take even longer. There are other factors that can affect the health of the hoof and, although there are a few factors we cannot change such as genetics, there are factors we can address. If we are willing to put in the time and effort, we can develop the best hoof genetics will allow.

Nutrition is one of the biggest factors that will affect the health of your horse’s hooves, but this will take time and patience. Changing your horse’s diet will not fix the issue in just a few days. Adding a hoof supplement, such as Farrier’s Formula® Double Strength, to your horse’s diet is one of the easiest ways to provide your horse with the nutrition it needs to grow a healthy hoof. By providing the proper nutrients, you are building the hoof from the inside out. This process can make a world of difference for your horse’s hooves by improving the hoof internally and promoting hoof wall thickness and strength. But this isn’t a short-term fix. We are not preparing for a race, we are preparing for a marathon. Adding Farrier’s Formula® to your horse’s diet is a long-term investment. For many horses it will be a life-long investment.

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As we said above, you are providing for the hoof from the inside out, which means you may not visually see results right away. This is where your patience comes into place. If you are not regularly feeding Farrier’s Formula® or are stopping and switching supplements every few weeks you will not receive the same results. Be patient, give the nutrients time to build up in the horse’s system and work from within the horse. When regularly feeding Farrier’s Formula®, it could take up to eight weeks before you begin seeing new hoof growth around the coronary band. In fact, many of our customers have even reported seeing a healthier hair coat before ever seeing new hoof growth. Once Farrier’s Formula® has had time to build up and provide the important nutrients your horse needs, it will then promote better quality and faster growing hooves.

Nutrition is only one aspect of hoof growth and quality, and we cannot discuss nutrition without also addressing the environment. Where nutrition plays a key role on the inside health of the hoof, the environment plays a role on the outside. If you’re not protecting the hoof from the outside environment, you are not protecting the investment you’ve made internally. Even with proper nutrition and supplementation, the environment can wreak havoc on your horse’s hooves and destroy any new growth your horse has made. Regular farrier work, clean stalls and proper nutrition can help prevent many of these environmental issues from developing, but they do not always stop it.

Regularly applying Farrier’s Finish® Hoof Disinfectant and Conditioner to the outside of the hooves will protect the investment you have made with Farrier’s Formula®. Farrier’s Finish® will protect new growth from the environment by helping control microbial invasions, regulating moisture in the hoof capsule, and addressing other environmental problems. For example, Farrier’s Finish® contains yucca extract, which is beneficial to horses that remain stalled or have been exposed to neglected stalls. The yucca in Farrier’s Finish® “binds” with ammonia in the stall to reduce irritation to the hoof capsule. Farrier’s Finish® not only protects and disinfects the surface of the hoof, but it also penetrates deep within the hoof wall to combat microbes at the foundation of the invasion. By applying Farrier’s Finish® you are giving the hoof the chance to grow and flourish.

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Hoof Topical and Disinfectant Farrier’s Formula® and Farrier’s Finish® are the perfect team to establish better quality hooves. By providing proper nutrition and controlling the environment you are promoting the best quality hoof genetics will allow. But you must be patient and consistent to witness the results. If you truly want to see the best hoof underneath your horse, you must be willing to put in the time, resources, effort, and patience that is required. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us at cservice@lifedatalabs.com or call us at 1-800-624-1873. We also recommend talking with your farrier and veterinarian about any hoof related issues your horse may be having.

Life Data Labs, Inc.