HomeAbout MeFAQsServices ListPathologyCase StudiesDonkeysTipsHorse KeepingContact MeLinks

Jake: Toe Crack

Toe crack
Jake is a Quarter Horse gelding. He was part of our herd over the summer of '09. When he arrived he had a persistent toe crack that went almost the entire way up the hoof wall. It was deep enough that from the solar view, it was visibly all the way through the wall to meet the sole. Interestingly, the sole around the cracked wall had a sort of mini-callous in a crescent shape around the split.  Along with this particular toe crack, he also had "grass cracks" on all four feet, with a dry appearance. He also had slightly contracted heels.
Solar view of cracked foot
The second set of pictures show his hoof 5 months later. I don't have any good, clear pictures of the more recent trims. A diet change, increased exercise and 4 week trim intervals, had his crack growing out nicely. I had also been treating the crack with Apple Cider Vinegar and water to kill any fungal infections. I simply sprayed it on the hoof and directly into the crack every couple of days. Not one swab of hoof moisturizers and see how much his hoof quality improved! The problem with Jake was an opportunistic infection that was eating the hoof from the inside out, or at least faster than it could grow. The thrush also cleared up with the vinegar treatments.
I grudgingly admit that I had been his trimmer before he joined our herd. He had that crack from before I ever touched his hoof, and it had always been clear up to the top of the hoof wall. The previous farrier had tried horizontal notches with the rasp, but to no avail. I had it about half grown out, with beveling alone, when I went on maternity leave. His hoof split right back up until I was back to work. Then he came to our place, and I was able to disinfect it, and it started growing out again.
He has since gone to a new home, and I've continued his hoof trimming, but on a longer time frame of 8 weeks, and with the winter months, his growth has slowed. I don't think the new owner has continued the anti-fungal treatments, so we'll see if he had enough treatments to make it go away permanantly. I highly suspect that if the treatments are not continued, the crack will start to grow again. The funny crescent shaped callous on the sole, surrounding the wall crack tells me there is probably an anomoaly that is either congential, or from trauma of a crack, or wound that makes it a permanant weak spot, more prone to infections.
Jake is sound. The crack does not cause lameness, and it has been healing without any need of a shoe to "stablize" the hoof.
Toe crack, 5 months later
Lateral view of a healthier hoof capsule