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Photo courtesy of Uckele Health & Nutrition
Photo courtesy of Uckele Health & Nutrition

Winter weather puts a strain on all body tissues with special challenges for the hooves. Don't skimp on hoof care over the winter.

Cold weather reduces blood flow to the extremities and unless your horse is doing a lot of exercising hoof growth is going to slow considerably. This means problems like cracks or chips won't be growing out. If the horse is shod, nail holes will enlarge and shoes become loose before enough foot has grown for a reset.

Pulling the shoes for the winter and putting a good roll on the hoof wall both protects the wall and encourages growth by improving circulation in the hoof. If you need a further boost, try Jiaogulan.

The combination of cold, low humidity and decreased circulation can lead to a dry hoof wall and heel cracks. For the wall and sole, my preferred dressing is a light coat of pine tar. For coronary band and heels/bulbs, simple is best - petroleum jelly or Cornhusker's lotion. If painful cracks develop, nothing beats Zim's Crack Creme (great for split skin on hands too).

For inside out support, maintain a mineral balanced diet with adequate methionine. Vitamin A supplementation should be 20,000 to 40,000 IU/day. Extra fat also helps the tissues. Simply curing hay reduces the fat intake an average of 200 mL/day (about 7 ounces) . A healthy hoof wall has a high concentration of fats and fat-derived waxes.

Want to pamper and treat those hooves at the same time? Put a small ball of Pine Tar hoof packing , one for each hoof, between the leaves of a folded piece of wax paper and microwave for about 10 seconds. Flatten then apply to the soles.

Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya, manufactures formulas to support metabolic and hoof health.

CocoHoof is a high-potency hoof supplement gives weak, shelly hooves a boost of fatty acids, amino acids, essential vitamins and minerals to support normal hoof growth and strong, tough hooves.

Jiaogulan supports circulation in the feet, which nourishes the tissue. Jiaogulan is very palatable and readily accepted by horses.

Vitamin A 5000 Blend provides 5000 IU of Vitamin A to promote healthy hooves, eye health and night vision. Also important for skin health, bone formation, immunity, fetal development, gum health, and gene activity.

About Dr. Kellon

Dr. Eleanor Kellon, DVM
Dr. Eleanor Kellon, DVM

Dr. Eleanor Kellon, staff veterinary specialist for Uckele Health & Nutrition, is an established authority in the field of equine nutrition for over 30 years, and a founding member and leader of the Equine Cushings and Insulin Resistance (ECIR) group, whose mission is to improve the welfare of horses with metabolic disorders via integration of research and real-life clinical experience. Prevention of laminitis is the ultimate goal.

Uckele Health & Nutrition, maker of CocoSoya, is an innovation-driven health company committed to making people and their animals healthier. On the leading edge of nutritional science and technology for over 50 years, Uckele formulates and manufactures a full spectrum of quality nutritional supplements incorporating the latest nutritional advances. Uckele is a proud member of the NASC.

You can find more informative articles in our section on Health & Education. Be sure to check out our section on Supplements.

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