Updated: Sep 7, 2021
WHAT IS THAT? A "V" shape Fungal infection of the outer wall in a Horse which originated at the Coronet Band.
What does it look like?
When you first see one of these infections in a Horse, you may be left scratching your head. I know I was when I first encountered it. I went in search of answers of course.
Pictured above: My first encounter with a fungal infection that had started at the Coronet.
Typically mistaken for an Abscess exit hole or assumed that the horse has somehow damaged or knocked his wall to create either a ridge or a hollow.
How does this start?
I'm not sure anyone has all the answers as yet. I feel I've seen enough cases and helped owners to stop them in their tracks with topical applications to weigh in on this subject.
Usually during a wet weather event, the Periople gets waterlogged and swells. If the Periople swells enough to create "pockets" which then pop open and hence now do not have the soft cover of the Periople over the wall at the Coronet Band (where the hoof wall joins the skin).
Waterlogged Periople swollen and pockets "popped" into a circular shape.
This is prime time for the Fungal spores to lodge themselves into the coronet band and start to thrive.
Fungal infection taking hold at coronet after wet conditions have swollen periople at coronet.
DIAGONAL AND "V" SHAPED
I have seen these in the Diagonal line and "V" shaped growths.
So lets say you have a fungal infection that has managed to creep in to the coronet band at the centre of the hoof. As the hoof starts to grow down, the fungal infection is still active and spreading at the coronet band - either in one direction or both.
So the centre part of the hoof is growing, and as the fungas spreads in either direction or both, you will see the ridges of where this has travelled as the hoof grows through.
Pictured above: Infection has started at the coronet band at the back of the hoof. So as that part of the fungus grows down and the infection spreads laterally towards the centre of the hoof, you see the ridges (in this case) left behind by the disruption in growth of the hoof wall.
This infection still current at coronet band on hoof.
Another diagonal line which has started off centre (medially) of the toe and has grown laterally. This horse was also advised to start topical treatment at the coronet at the point where the fungus line stops. This one has presented as a slight hollow rather than a ridge.
"V" Shaped infection which has spread both medially and laterally. As the centre of the hoof grows down where the initially infection started, the infection moves medially and latterally in this case creating further ridges so as those parts of the wall then grow through, this produces the "V" shape. The more pronounced the "V" shape, the slower growing it is.
In my practice, I have found that these ridges are not typically noticed until they are grown below the Periople or even further down the capsule. Seemingly appearing overnight. The further they grown down the hoof, typically the worse they start to look (as above pic).
As the hoof is slightly weakened in these areas, the Stratum Externum (outer wall) starts to wear a little and may even look like a hole which is why some may assume it has been an abscess exit point.
What we advise to prevent and topicals we recommend.
My current protocol in my own horses and those that have been prone to coronet band fungal infections in the past is to keep the Periople lubricated throughout the dry months with our Hoof Balm.
Hoof Balm is an ALL NATURAL product made with Cosmetic Grade ingredients.
With a host of ingredients targeted at hydration and protection. Essential Oils of Kunzea, Lemon, Lemon Myrtle and Eucalyptus Citriodora along with Grapefruit Seed Oil well known for their topical applications.
Prior to wet periods, lube up the Hoof with our HOOF BALM and ensure you work it into the Coronet. With Beeswax in the mix, this will provide a slight water repelling property and aims to reduce the over swelling of the Periople during the wet periods.
If you notice a fungal defect at the coronet band, rub Hoof Balm into coronet band. You could also mix in some Athletes Foot Cream readily available from the chemist. Apply daily for 2 weeks. This should stop the medial or lateral (or both) spread of the fungus.
As the fungal defect grows further down the hoof, the infection lines may split.
As in the above photo, you can see as this "V" infection has grown down, the hoof is starting to split open. To prevent this from damaging the hoof further, we recommend cleansing with our HOOF SPRAY
Ensure all debris are cleaned from the site by blasting our Hoof Spray and thoroughly cleansing with a hoof brush. Dry off the site and apply our BEESWAX PURE BALLS which are a malleable hoof putty formulated to keep abscess exit point and hoof cracks clear of debris which when lodged in hoof defects, may cause further spread of pathogens.
I have not seen one yet in close to 2 decades of Hoof Care work that has penetrated deeper than the Stratum Medium (unpigmented hoof wall). It's always exciting when you get to trim the Hoof Wall of these infections at ground level and check out the trimmings.
Have you ever had this happen to your horse or seen it in your travels? We'd love to see your photos.