Horse Supplements for Hooves
Horse supplements for hooves should be a regular part of your horse life.
Horse’s feet are a significant part of the horse’s overall health and wellness. Many of the problems related to lameness and other performance issues are in the feet. It is critical that horse owners pay regular attention to their horse’s feet. There are many supplements, in addition to a good diet, that can help maintain great health in horse’s hooves.
We’ve all heard the simple statement, “No hoof, no horse.” Such few words hold so much truth. Problems with horse hooves such as brittleness, chipping and cracking are relatively common. Good thing there are steps you can take to help prevent these issues and keep your horse’s hooves strong and healthy. One of the easiest and most effective is giving your horse the relevant supplements. This is something we shall take a look at in more detail in this article.
Best Hoof Supplement, Best Hoof Support, Best Hoof Growth
Promoting Hoof Health
A horse hoof should have a healthy hoof wall that prevents drying and chipping from occurring. There are many potential reasons the hoof wall may not be healthy. If the hoof wall is not healthy it may crack and expose the hoof to moisture and dryness resulting in further issues including infections and abscesses. It is so important to pay close attention to your horse’s hooves. You need to have a routine in place to encourage hoof health. For example; regularly trimming hooves, avoiding the use of harsh chemicals on the hooves and exercising your horse to encourage blood flow. As it can be difficult and even painful to treat cracks and damage externally you can promote hoof health from the inside out by feeding an appropriate and supportive diet.
What is in Hoof Supplements?
Hoof supplements are widely available. Many equine shops stocking at least one hoof supplement on their shelves. Even if your horse is getting a good diet, there may be certain nutrients that are lacking, so providing supplements can give them the extra boost they need and help combat any issues before they develop. Hoof supplements help by targeting the most common deficiencies that may be impacting the health of your horse. A high quality, effective hoof supplement will often contain the following key ingredients; biotin, zinc, calcium and methionine.
- Biotin is a B vitamin essential for cell growth. It is able to encourage good hoof health by strengthening the collagen fiber bonds within the connective tissue. It is essential to provide Biotin via your horse’s diet as Biotin cannot be produced within the body. 20mg of biotin per day should help to promote hoof health.
- Zinc plays a role in reinforcing keratin which is the protein that makes up hooves, skin and hair. Ensuring your horse is consuming zinc helps to protect skin cells from damage.
- Calcium helps to strengthen the links between hoof proteins which leads to a healthier and more solid hoof.
- Methionine is an essential amino acid that needs to be provided via diet and plays a key role in protein structures and hoof maintenance. The majority (over 90%) of the hoof wall is protein which is why a deficiency in protein or a deficiency of essential amino acids such as methionine and lysine impacts the health and quality of your horse’s hooves.
Other key ingredients frequently found within hoof supplement mixes include:
- Vitamins A, E and D
What is Biotin Supplement? (For Equine Issues)
Biotin is a water soluble B vitamin. Biotin is a essential for a number of functions in a horse’s body. These functions include fatty acid synthesis, protein and energy metabolism and cell proliferation. For horses, biotin is best known and most commonly used to improve hoof quality.
How Do I Know if My Horse Has Deficiencies?
A visit from a vet or equine nutritionist can help you to determine what, if anything, your horse is deficient in. They can tell you what nutrients to focus on providing proper supplementation. Also keep in mind that it will take a few months before you can see a difference in your horse’s hooves as the supplements need time to work and it will only really be noticeable in the healthy, new growth. The hoof wall grows slowly at a rate of up to ½ an inch per month.
While you wait for the healthy new growth of the hooves, it may be tempting to try to treat any brittleness or damage with certain hoof dressings. However, this route should be taken with great care because harsh chemicals and frequent dressings can cause the hooves to worsen. Keep in mind that hoof cracks can expose sensitive tissue. this tissue may be irritated by some of the chemicals found in hoof dressings. Another potential issue is that constant moisture can over soften the hoof. It is best to seek the advice of a vet and farrier when deciding whether or not to try to treat hoof problems externally with hoof dressings.
Keeping Up a Routine to Maximize Hoof Health
Now that you are supporting your horse’s hoof health from within using a suitable supplement, there are some other steps you can take to help maximize your horse’s hoof health. This includes;
- Regular farrier visits: Regular visits from your farrier can help to catch hoof problems early and ensure any issues are quickly corrected.
- Daily exercise: Being turned out each day or simply going for a walk can help promote blood flow throughout the body.
- Check the food and supplements being offered and seek the support of a vet or nutritionist: Ensure the food and supplements are high quality and avoid over-supplementation. Over-supplementation of certain nutrients can negatively impact your horse by causing absorption issues.
- Improve the environment your horse is in: Make sure the area where your horse spends the most time is clean and dry. This will encourage healthy hooves as well as healing.
Common Hoof Problems
There are many hoof problems that your horse may encounter. Problems may be due to many factors from genetics, weight and weight-bearing and diet. The following problems are three of the most common issues:
Hoof Cracks – A crack is a break in the hoof wall and can occur as toe, quarter or heel cracks. Cracks can also appear at nail holes, this can happen when the shoes have been on for too long and the nail holes have widened leaving an area open to moisture and drying. If your horse is regularly getting hoof cracks in the same location then this could be due to an incorrect distribution of weight on the foot. Regular trimming of the hooves combined with a complete diet can encourage good hoof health.
Hoof Abscess – This is an infection within the hoof. An abscess can be caused by a number of factors and frequently occur due to a crack that has allowed bacteria to enter into the hoof. It often causes lameness and requires a vet and farrier to help treat the problem.
White Line Disease – This is an infection that causes the disintegration of the white line. It begins at the ground and works up creating hollow space. This can result in structural unsoundness and lameness.