How to Manage Horse Quarter Cracks

Two Methods:Repairing the HoofHelping Your Horse to Recover

A quarter crack by definition is any crack that occurs on the quarters or the side of the horse’s hoof.[1] The quarter of a hoof is the area that is located after the toe of the hoof. Cracks in the quarter can cause your horse severe pain, and may lead to complications like bleeding, infection, and damage to the tissues of the horse’s hoof. In order to manage the hoof, you will first have to work with a vet or farrier to repair the hoof, and then help your horse to recover once the hoof is repaired.

Method 1
Repairing the Hoof

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    Bring your horse to a vet or farrier to have the hoof examined. Quarter cracks call for a professional examination so that the underlying cause of the crack can be diagnosed. During the examination, the vet or farrier will[2]:
    • Observe your horse while he walks on a hard surface, before and after the hooves are trimmed.
    • Look at the landing pattern of the foot to determine if there is an uneven impact occurring.
    • Look for any other deformities, such as clubfoot.
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    Address the underlying problem with the help of the vet or farrier. Once the vet or farrier has determined what the underlying cause of the crack is, work with him or her to come up with a treatment plan.
    • For example, if the shoe on that hoof was put on incorrectly, that shoe will need to be removed, and caution will have to be taken when putting on the new shoe.
    • If you do not treat the condition, it is very likely that another crack will occur.
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    Get specialized bar shoes for your horse. These shoes evenly distribute the weight throughout your horse’s hoof, which means that they will help to protect your horse’s hoof from cracking further. Examples of different types of bar shoes based on shape include:
    • Straight bar, egg bar, heart bar, or Z bar. According to some experts, the straight bar shoe is the most effective for horses with full thickness quarter cracks.[3]
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    Prevent further damage by using aluminum glue on your horse’s shoes. Applying aluminum glue to your horse’s shoes, rather than using nails, can prevent further damage to the cracked portion of the hoof. When the glue is in place, the hoof can be trimmed and shod without having to replace the nails in the cracked area.
    • The glue can also allow for more expansion of the hoof than nails can.
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    Have the crack repaired with fiber glass implants. Fiber glass implants can help to seal up the crack after you have treated the underlying cause of the quarter crack. During the repair, the vet will[4]:
    • Clean and sand the crack using a grinder. He or she will then disinfect the crack using iodine.
    • The vet will then place strong stainless wire sutures along the crack. Once the wires are in place, the vet will fill the crack with a fiber glass material mixed with adhesive material.

Method 2
Helping Your Horse to Recover

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    Allow your horse to rest. After your horse’s hoof has been repaired, rest your horse for at least two months. This rest period will allow the cracks in the hoof to heal, as well as letting the hoof form new layers.
    • Resting your horse means you do not ride or work him for at least two months.
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    Give your horse nutritional supplements. To speed up your horse’s recovery time, give your horse vitamins and minerals that are involved in hoof material formation and hardening. Give your horse a multivitamin that focuses on hoof health:
    • Ranvet’s Hoof Food, Hoof Strength vitamin contains biotin, gelatin, methionine, choline, magnesium, sulphur, zinc, and magnesium. The dose is generally 30 grams a day for three to five months.
    • Formula 707 Hoof Essentials contains Biotin, DL-methionine, L-Lysine, calcium, phosphorous, zinc, manganese, and copper. The general does is one scoop per day for three to five months.
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    Watch out for conditions that could lead to another crack. While your horse is recovering, and after the horse has recovered, it is important to try to keep cracks from forming again. To do this, it is important to know what can lead to a crack. The following are common conditions that lead to quarter cracks:
    • Unbalanced hooves that may be due to improper hoof maintenance or shoeing.[5]
    • Sheared heels, which is when one side of the heel is longer than the other side. You can recognize this if one side of the heel bulb is always flared or sheared in comparison to the other side.
    • Deformities of the heels, like contracted heels, wherein the hoof walls are thin or narrow in the back section of the hoof.
    • An unnaturally thick toe part of the hoof. This is caused by a prolonged use of shoes.
    • Improper shoeing, or when the attached shoe is too short in the heel area.
    • Low or underrun-heel wherein the hoof wall mass becomes thin.[6]
    • Deformities like club foot.
    • Vitamin and mineral deficiency, specifically B vitamins and magnesium.

Tips

  • In summary, anything that gives an excessive impact on a localized spot on the hoof at the quarter area can cause quarter cracks.

Article Info

Categories: Horses