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Keratoma removal resection?

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  • Keratoma removal resection?

    Over the last two years my horse has had a soft spot in the toe, that when it gets wet it comes out in a way that is similar to thrush. We've been treating it like seedy toe, but with little improvement. When this area gets packed with mud, he would be sore, but when it was picked out, he would be sound. Starting Jan 3rd he has had undiagnosed foot pain. We did an MRI yesterday and they found a 2.5cm keratoma at the toe, in the same area where the thrushy spot always occurs. My vet is recommending a foot resection to remove the keratoma followed by therapeutic shoeing to keep the foot stable.

    Has anyone ever done this type of removal before? He says it will take about 10 days for the horn to "harden??" and until that time he will need to stay bandaged. He is a hunter, and they're telling me the prognosis for returning to full jumping is excellent.

    Any experiences or advise would be greatly appreciated.
    My adventures as a working rider


  • #2

    My horse had a resection similar if not identical to what is done for keratoma -- but perhaps MORE invasive. I blogged about it at behindthebitblog.com

    Basically, it's a matter of keeping the hoof very clean for the weeks that the hoof his hardening up. The thing to ask about (if I were you) is what they will do if they find the keratoma runs along the length of the hoof, which is often the case. They may need to take a longer strip up to the coronary band (which is where most keratomas originate. That said, it is not "serious" and I have heard the prognosis is good for keratomas if the growth has not impinged on the coffin bone (I assume xrays were done).

    Keratomas are hard to diagnose, I'm curious how your horse was diagnosed.

    Good luck!
    Dressage, riding, sport horse blog
    Unique browbands for dressage and hunter riders


    • #3
      My horse had a keratoma removed from his right hind foot about a year ago. It was done standing under sedation, local anesthesia and a tourniquet. All went well though it will bleed a decent bit once the tourniquet is removed. Bandages will have to be changed daily until the bleeding stops and then you have to wait for the dermal tissue to 'harden'. I applied iodine solution (can't remember the percent) at every bandage change as that speeds up the 'hardening' of the tissue. Even once it has hardened you are going to need to keep it clean and dry. My horse was done in the winter (bad idea) and we had a ton of snow that year. He pretty much had to stay in a hoof bandage which was a pain for me. It healed well, grew out quickly and you can't tell that hoof wall was ever resected. He was sound very quick and if you have hind shoes on your guy then I would think you could go back to work fairly soon. The prognosis is pretty good and since an MRI was done they should know exactly where the keratoma lives and how far it travels up the hoof wall. Good luck and you should definitely be back to jumping with no problem!


      • #4
        My horse had a hoof resection done in 2004. Bandages changed daily, had him shod, and he wore an ol mac boot or saber sneaker. Tip on the coffin bone was removed as well. 1 month after surgery I was riding him at a walk, and 10 months later he was back doing ranch work.
        Here is a link to the photo's of the growth of the hoof.

        Warning very graphic.