The hooves of horses are especially prone to infection, due to their constant exposure to bacteria and sensitivity of the hoof wall to environmental changes. Abscesses within the hoof may vary in degree, ranging from mild to life threatening. Typically, abscesses occur when bacteria are introduced into the epithelium of the hoof, where the body responds and produces purulent fluid that effectively forms a pocket. This pocket will become enlarged with pus and due to the inability of the hoof to expand, pressure will begin to build up and cause pain. Severe lameness and resistance to bearing weight on the painful hoof is therefore the first sign of an abscess. Normally, the thick outer wall and sole of the hoof protects the more sensitive…show more content… The stratum basale and stratum spinosum, and stratum corneum (forms the hoof capsule) are subdivisions of the epidermis. The five regions of the hoof include the coronary band, the hoof wall, the sole, the frog, and the heel bulbs. Highly specialized subcutaneous tissues within the hoof include the perioplic tissue, coronary tissue, lamellar tissue, solar tissue, and cuneate tissue.
The outer hoof wall consists of keratinized laminar epithelium that is constantly being regenerated. Regeneration of the hoof wall takes place at the coronary band where there are basal epithelial cells that produce keratinocytes. Just below the outer hoof wall sits the lamina, connecting the interior wall to the distal phalanx, and acts to secure the bone in place. The lamellae layers consist of the stratum externum, stratum medium, and stratum internum (see Figure 1). The laminar layer surrounds the distal phalanx (P3) and makes up the statum internum (lamellatum) of the laminar corium, consisting of keritanized primary laminae, and non-keratinized secondary laminae. The strong bond between the hoof wall and pedal bone is a result of interdigitating of the primary and secondary laminae as shown in figure 2 (Ownby, 2002), (Anatomy of the Hoof Capsule, n.d.).
The band of soft tissue that acts as the junction between the epithelium of the pastern and the coronary band is the periople, which produces the outer layer of the hoof wall