The Hooves Of Horses Are Particularly Prone

1765 Words Aug 12th, 2015 8 Pages
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 and soft tissues deeper within the foot. However, small punctures or cracks that cause defects to the wall or sole of the hoof allows bacteria to enter and cause an infection within the epithelium. Environments that fluctuate between wet and dry are known for causing abscesses. Dry weather creates cracking and fissures of the hoof wall, and a change to wet weather allows for mud to seep into these cracks and allows bacteria to enter into the soft tissue layers of the hoof (dermis, subcutaneous tissue). Other causes of hoof abscesses include puncture wounds where bacteria either enter on the penetrating object (mechanical vector), or by bacteria entering via the puncture site after the object has been removed.
Three layers make up the hoof;…

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