How to Treat a Horse's Bruised Feet

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Although a horse may bruise any part of his hoof, the most common location for bruising is the sole of the foot. This is also called a stone bruise. Bruises are often the result of stepping on something like a stone, a hard impact to the feet from a hard surface or activity such as jumping or from improper shoeing.

Most bruises heal on their own after a few days of stall rest, but you can consider additional treatment for severe bruising.

Warning

  • Although bruises are not a serious or life-threatening condition, if your horse is lame consult a veterinarian to confirm the diagnosis and rule out more serious conditions such as laminitis.

Rest and Recovery

Clean the hoof to remove any rocks that may be trapped. If a shoe is the cause of the bruise, remove it. Most bruises, especially stone bruises, heal on their own with approximately five to seven days of stall rest. You also can use a small paddock if the footing is not rocky.

Additional Treatments

To help relieve pain and reduce inflammation, you can soak your horse's hoof in warm water and Epsom salts daily. Your vet may prescribe an anti-inflammatory such as Bute. Your vet also may recommend applying ichthammol, an ointment that can help with the soreness, and wrapping the hoof for up to five days. Your farrier can apply a shoe with a pad to prevent further injury and minimize pressure on the sole of the foot.

Bruise Complications

In some cases, bacteria may infect a bruise, resulting in an abscess in the hoof. In these cases, your vet may prescribe antibiotics to get rid of the infection and cut the hoof to drain the pus from the abscess and relieve the pressure in the foot. She will then apply an antiseptic, such as iodine, to disinfect the area and wrap the hoof with cotton or gauze to provide padding and prevent further infection.

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