Laminitis is a common but still incompletely understood condition that causes varying degrees of foot pain, from the slightly pottery pony to severe life-threatening lameness.
Good management is the key to preventing or controlling the spread of disease. Good management practices aim to keep horses in good condition and in a healthy environment, in order to reduce the risk of introduction and spread of disease, to identify individuals especially at risk and to promote rapid recovery if disease does occur.
When a farrier shoes a horse, accurate placement of each nail through the insensitive epidermal laminae of the hoof is essential. The nail must penetrate deep enough to hold firm, but not deep enough to penetrate the sensitive laminae of the hoof.
The horse's hoof is a very complex structure. The tough outer wall surrounds layers of sensitive laminae ('leaves') that support, nourish with blood and, in turn, cover the underlying pedal bone.
Infection in the foot is by far, the most common cause of acute (sudden), single-leg lameness in the horse. Infection results in painful inflammation and pus (abscess) formation.
Seedy toe is a separation of the horse's hoof wall from the underlying sensitive laminae at the white line, resulting in a cavity that fills with crumbling dirt, horn and debris and is prone to associated infection.
Some horse owners feel that it is necessary to 'clean' a colt or gelding's prepuce (sheath) and penis on a fairly regular basis.
Tendons are the strap-like structures that attach muscles to the bones on which they act. Most tendons are short and rarely damaged. However, the long tendons of the limbs are very vulnerable to damage during exercise or as a result of direct trauma.
Thrush is an unpleasant infection of the horse's frog that is predisposed by moist, damp, dirty ground or stall conditions.