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Hoof issues = nutrition issues?

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  • Hoof issues = nutrition issues?

    I've had a lot of hoof problems this summer... One horse has had a lot of bruising and one bad abscess, while the other has had at least one, possibly two abscesses and his hooves are chipping really badly between trims (he gets done every 6 weeks). Also, just today when he was trimmed there was evidence of bruising (there was some red showing in the hoof wall). They are barefoot. Could these problems be pointing to a nutritional deficiency of some sort?

    Both have shiny coats and are in good weight. They get 2 cups per day of Min-A-Vite LITE (a Blue Seal pelleted vitamin/mineral supplement) and a cup of Trotter just for the heck of it. I just started them both on a Selenium/vitamin E supplement. They are on grass pastures. In a possibly unrelated note, they both have had minor eye infections in the past two weeks as well. I was thinking this may indicate a depressed immune system, possibly also indicating a nutrient deficiency.
    Last edited by JCS; Aug. 25, 2010, 06:46 PM. Reason: To change Min-a-Vite to Min-a-Vite Lite

  • #2
    Could it be nutrition-related? Yes. Could it be trim-related? Yes.

    Any chance of any pictures?
    The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


    • #3
      Pictures would be very helpful. I would guess more farrier related than diet. Why the selenium...are you in a deficient area?


      • #4
        Perhaps they need to be trimmed more often? That might help. Do they get any biotin in their diet? Amino acids are also important. But at the end of the day I think that hoof health is largely genetic. My OTTB was literally starving when I bought him. He'd been that way for a full year and his feet were made of iron then and still are. I also think that the horse's tail is a good indicator of hoof health, my guy has a full, bushy tail. Every horse at my barn who has hoof problems has a thin, broken tail.

        Also, watch how much grass these horses are consuming. Chronic abscessing can be a sign of low-grade laminitis. Best of luck!


        • #5
          They get 2 CUPS a day of Min-a-Vite? Are you sure on that? Min-a-Vite is supposed to be fed on a per OUNCE basis..
          Tell a Gelding. Ask a Stallion. Discuss it with a Mare... Pray if it's a Pony!


          • #6
            The only time I have ever had problems with bruising and abscesses is when I had a farrier who was a little knife happy and trimmed too much sole away. My run lot is like the side of a mountain.........lots and lots of rocks.


            • #7
              Why do you feed Min-a-Vite AND selenium/E. They could have an excess of selenium which could very easily cause the hoof problems you have. Are you sure your area is selenium deficient? And why both? Sublimequine is right, your guys should be getting 4 ounces, not 2 cups! The Trotter has selenium also, but at that amount shouldn't make an impact, but everything adds up. More is not better. Selenium overdose is very dangerous! Talk to your vet. Remember the polo ponies in Florida that died on the field. Selenium overdose. Not trying to scare you, but check it out immediately.


              • #8
                It could also be due to dry ground. My horses hooves have also been chipping and cracking because they hit a growth spurt during their 6 week trim cycle. I've backed them up to 5 weeks this time around. I've dealt with an abscess on one horse in the past few weeks along with some bad bruising on one horse. It's the horribly dry ground we've been having. My farrier says he's seen quite a few abscesses and excessive bruising in the last two months on many of the horses he trims.

                As a side note, I've dealt with about 3 cases of conjunctivitis in the past 2 months. Vet says its heat related.

                But as a side note in agreement with everyone else, if you are over feeding them a vitamin/mineral supplement and feeding more on top of that, you are creating an vitamin/nutrition imbalance which can also lead to multiple problems.


                • #9
                  Yeah, hopefully it was a typo and "cups" was supposed to be "ounces"

                  Adding an E/Se supplement, which just started according to the OP, is not at all likely to be the issue. If there was enough long-term toxication from Se to be causing such apparent hoof issues, I highly doubt the rest of the horse would look so good.
                  The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                  • Original Poster

                    Wait, let me clear up one thing. It's Min-a-Vite LITE, which is a different thing. I am feeding the recommended amount listed on the bag, which is in fact 2 to 3 CUPS per day. It's a pelleted grain-like product.

                    I am feeding added selenium because my area is deficient. My vet recommended I add selenium based on their issues. He looked at the Min-a-Vite and concluded that it didn't have enough selenium (6.6 ppm). I literally JUST started them on this less than 2 weeks ago, so the hoof issues pre-date this addition.

                    I can probably get some pictures, but not until tomorrow.

                    Thanks for the thoughts so far... I am leaning toward jaimebaker's way of thinking... hard ground and rocks are certainly a way of life here. I don't THINK she is taking off too much sole--she really does more rasping and shaping of the hoof wall than actual trimming or sole removal.


                    • #11
                      I'm going to have to counter that hoof/tail thing. I have two horses, one with terrible wispy tail (and mane, no forelock, etc etc). Great feet.

                      The other one has luxurious hair every which way. Crappy feet. Horses eat and are cared for the same, etc.
                      The big man -- my lost prince

                      The little brother, now my main man


                      • #12
                        That makes more sense - didn't even think that you might have meant the Lite
                        The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by asterix View Post
                          I'm going to have to counter that hoof/tail thing. I have two horses, one with terrible wispy tail (and mane, no forelock, etc etc). Great feet.

                          The other one has luxurious hair every which way. Crappy feet. Horses eat and are cared for the same, etc.
                          My point though is that if *selenium poisoning* was the cause of the crappy feet, then it would be toxic enough, for long enough, to have started affecting the mane and tail. At least afaik.

                          Of course horses can have genetically poor feet but not manes or tails, and the other way around. Look at appy's and their tails
                          The CoTH CYA - please consult w/your veterinarian under any and all circumstances. - ET


                          • #14
                            go here www.horshoes.com full of farriers and ask them as to why your horse is having problems
                            if it was me i would be protecting the foot as could be flat footed and briuse easily so i would shoes on all round


                            • #15
                              Glad to hear about the selenium. Goeslikestink has a good idea. Post pictures and see what they think.


                              • #16
                                Throwing out a couple ideas nobody has mentioned yet: you don't say what part of the country you're in. How hard is the ground this summer? how has the wet/dry cycle been in your area? are you having days of wet weather that softens up their feet then suddenly it heats up and they find themselves stomping at flies? how bad are your flies? any changes to their turnout arrangements or routines?

                                Around here (upper midwest), we've seen a lot of bruises and absesses this month, too, and conjunctivitis last month. The conjunctivitis seems to be fly-borne, and was bad for a few weeks and then stopped (referring to prevalence in our area, rather than the severity of it). My theory on the bruises is that we've had wet-hot/dry-really wet-hot/dry/buggy weather all summer and they've been stomping a lot even though the ground isn't particularly hard. We've also had amazing grass in our pastures, which does make me wonder about low grade laminitis factoring into some of the absesses.

                                I had a horse pop a splint years ago from standing on a certain spot in the drylot and stomping at flies. The herd dynamics had changed and he was "required" to stand in that spot (lowest guy in the group had to stand in the worst spot) - a week later, he was lame. I wonder how many times things like herd dynamics factor into the weird problems we see.