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Cracked Heels in Horses

Treatment

 

The best course of treatment for cracked heels is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. This means keeping your horse’s legs clean and dry as best as you can. During periods of excessive wetness, such as the spring, daily cleaning of the horse’s feet and lower legs will help prevent this condition.

 

If the horse has developed this condition, again, keeping the lower legs as dry and clean as possible will help with treatment. At the start of treatment, bathing the affected area with a mild antibactieral shampoo with a drying agent will help clean the skin. After bathing, ensure that the leg is completely dry. If the horse has developed scabs, the bath is the time to remove these. Sometimes this requires sedation of the horse, since this can be an uncomfortable process.

 

Living and Management

 

After treating the lesions for cracked heels, keep the area clean and dry. Again, this will not only allow the antibiotic to function properly, but help prevent further bacterial infection from developing.

 

Prevention

 

Remember that wet hair and skin are the main causes for cracked heels. Therefore, keeping a horse in a stable during inclement weather and ensuring that living conditions are clean and dry should prevent cracked heels. Additionally, if you have a horse with leg feathering, you may want to clip this excessive hair during wet weather to allow the skin underneath to dry.

 

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