Painful hoof abscesses in horses develop when bacterial or fungal organisms enter the hoof structure through a wound or opening and cause infection in the inner tissues. The invading microorganisms and the ensuing immune response generate purulent exudate (pus) which causes pressure inside the hoof. This leads to pain, structural damage and lameness.
Founder is a common cause of lameness in horses. It involves damage to the laminar connection between the hoof wall and the coffin bone. This often leads to rotation and/or sinking of the coffin bone which causes severe pain and can permanently damage the hoof structure.
Podotrochlear Syndrome (also referred to as navicular syndrome or navicular disease) affects the podotrochlear apparatus (PTA) of the equine foot and typically occurs in the forelimbs. The condition can cause a variable degree of lameness. There is no single cause of Podotrochlear Syndrome. Multiple structures including bones, tendons, and ligaments within the foot can be affected.
While line disease is a hoof condition that can lead to pain and lameness. This condition affects the equine hoof wall in one or more hooves at a time. White line disease originates as a separation between adjacent layers in the hoof wall starting at the toe, quarter, and/or heel, which can then become infected with bacteria and fungi.
Horses exhibiting heel pain are often diagnosed with navicular syndrome. It is a common – and frustrating – issue to deal with, but it no longer spells immediate retirement for the horse. With early diagnosis and proper treatment, a horse with navicular syndrome may still have a useful life for a considerable period of time. Navicular syndrome is a chronic degenerative condition that can cause lameness in the front legs. It is most commonly seen in competition horses and quarter horses.