Specialized Expertise and Innovative Solutions:

Supporting Equine Foot Health & Performance

At Countryside, we combine the art of farriery and blacksmithing with the expertise of veterinary medicine. This combination allows us to specialize in the treatments of hoof injuries, infections, abnormalities, wounds and foot-related lameness. Our veterinary staff use all diagnostic tools available in order to identify foot problems and create unique programs to facilitate recovery.

Equine Podiatry

Common conditions we treat and manage:

  • Canker
  • Club feet
  • Hoof/coffin bone infections
  • Keratomas
  • Laminitis/Unresponsive Laminitis - Tenotomy Procedure
  • Navicular syndrome
  • Puncture wounds
  • Soft tissue injuries
  • White line disease
Without the foot,

There is no horse.

If the horse’s feet are not balanced, trimmed, and properly shod, any other medical, surgical, non-invasive, re-generative or alternative therapy will not be effective.

We take pride in educating our clients and involving them in the treatment of their horse. We develop a personalized program for each patient, their owners and farriers, specifically designed to help the patient reach their full performance potential.

Podiatry

Canker versus Thrush

Canker and thrush prevail in warm, wet, and muddy conditions - ​just the kind of conditions we know all too well in the Southeast.

If you notice a foul odor coming from your horse's hoof, most likely your horse is dealing with thrush. Thrush is very common and easy for seasoned horse owners to spot. You will notice the odor and easily recognize the black, tar-like bacteria. Mild cases of thrush can be treated by the horse owner or farrier. However, advanced cases and those situations where pain or lameness is present warrant the consultation of a veterinarian. ​

Equine Podiatry

Canker is much less common and much more challenging to treat. The basic distinguishing factor of canker is overgrowths - horn producing tissues towards the back of the frog. In its early stages, canker can easily be mistaken for thrush. However, as it further develops, the appearance of the white discharge resembling cottage cheese is unmistakable.

​Canker destroys hoof tissue, so infected horses may try to keep weight off of their heels. Left untreated, canker will spread to the frog, bars, sole and hoof wall.

How Is Canker Treated?

In order to be treated, a veterinarian must resect the infected portions of the hoof. The infected tissue will easily loosen and bleed.

This treatment is performed with the horse standing while under a mild sedation. After care of the infected area is crucial. A strict, daily antiseptic regimen is necessary to prevent the bacteria from redeveloping.

Equine PodiatryEquine PodiatryEquine Podiatry
Podiatry

Case of the Keratoma

Equine Podiatry - Keratoma

A keratoma is often classified as a benign tumor that grows inside the hoof wall. This spherical or cylindrical mass of keratin slowly grows and separates the hoof wall laminae. Since keratomas are benign tumors, they do not metastasize or grow to other parts of the body.

What to look for:

  • Bulging of the hoof wall at the coronet.
  • Slow, progressive lameness.
  • Recurring abscesses and/or white line distortion on the sole of the hoof.

Keep in mind, sometimes there are no visible signs on the outside of the hoof that a keratoma is present.

How Do You Treat a Keratoma?

Once the exact site of the keratoma is diagnosed through radiographs, surgical removal will be required. The outer layer of the hoof wall over the keratoma will be removed using an electric burr. Once the keratoma is exposed, it will be carefully removed.

Following the removal of the keratoma, wound packing and a special shoe with a protective plate will be applied. This is done to stabilize the hoof wall and to protect against infection. As with any hoof wound, it's critical for the treated area to be kept dry and clean until it has completely healed.

Growth of the hoof wall is a very slow process, but with patience and precise wound care, the prognosis for the horse to return to normal activity is good.

Podiatry

Puncture Wounds

Here’s the Scenario

Your horse is limping and upon investigation, you discover an object lodged in their hoof. This object could be a nail, screw, wood bedding, a piece of gravel or whatever other debris that your horse has stepped across. Regardless of how quickly you discover the puncture wound, you must understand that once the object or piece of debris enters the hoof, so has bacteria. All puncture wounds should be treated as a medical emergency because they can threaten the career or even the life of your horse.

Equine Podiatry - Puncture Wounds
Equine Podiatry - Puncture Wound X-Ray
Treating Puncture Wounds
Puncture Wounds

What to do

Don’t Panic. When encountering a puncture wound, it's important to remind yourself not to panic. It's common for your first instinct to be to remove the object. However, make your first move a phone call to us. Let our veterinarians instruct you on exactly how to handle the situation. In most cases, it's best for the veterinarian to remove the object or debris. Radiographs taken on site with the nail in place are helpful in determining the angle of entry, the depth of penetration and if the object affected critical synovial structures.

​If you have already removed the object make sure to save it and note the exact location of removal. Snapping a quick photo for the veterinarian can also be helpful. For wounds that penetrate deeper structures, immediate and aggressive treatment is necessary. The horse will be placed on antibiotics and trailered to our clinic for advanced surgical and medical techniques. ​

Puncture Wounds

Dangers & Complexities

A horse's foot contains 2 important synovial structures - the navicular bursa and the coffin joint. When healthy, these structures permit free and easy movement of the joint. In an average size horse, the navicular bursa is only 3 cm (just over an inch) from the sole of the hoof - it's even less in a pony! It doesn't take much for a nail or object to puncture the bursa. If the navicular bursa or coffin joint is punctured, potentially life-threatening infection (synovial sepsis) almost always occurs.

Did you know?

The navicular bursa and coffin joint are only 3 cm from the sole.

Equine Podiatry - Puncture Wound X-Ray
From the Blog
News & Articles
Travis - The Comeback Horse

The Countryside Comeback

A remarkable recovery story of Travis,  the quarter horse who beat a navicular bursa infection to show again.

Read Story
Puncture Wounds

Street Nail Procedure

In most cases, soreness and lameness is not visible until several days after the nail (or other debris) is removed from the hoof. Even though the object is removed, the bacteria that entered is still present and leads to infection and painful pressure.

As stressed before, infections of the navicular bursa or coffin bone must be treated early and aggressively. In the case pictured, the horse underwent a street nail procedure for a navicular bursa infection.

The entry tract of the nail was located and a regional limb perfusion was performed. This delivered a high concentration of antibiotics to the navicular bursa. Surgical flushing of the navicular bursa (lavage of the navicular bursa) and intensive antibiotics were also required for treatment.

A swab was taken for culture to determine what antibiotic would be most effective. Aggressive veterinary treatment led to the successful outcome of this case.

Unresponsive Laminitis

Digital Deep Flexor Tenotomy

Deep digital flexor tenotomy is considered to be a salvage procedure for unresponsive cases with massive laminar damage or chronic laminitis. The deep digital flexor tendon runs down the back of the horse’s leg and attaches to the bottom of the coffin bone. By transecting the deep digital flexor tendon near the mid-cannon bone region, pressure from the pull of the tendon on the coffin bone is relieved. This transection also removes one of the main forces responsible for rotation of the coffin bone in laminitis.

Equine Podiatry - Tenotomy

Tenotomy: Case Study 2

Before Procedure

Equine Podiatry - X-Ray

Immediately after Procedure

Equine Podiatry - X-Ray

6 months after Procedure

Equine Podiatry - X-Ray

The purpose of this procedure is to improve blood flow to the foot, alleviate pain, halt disease progressions and re-establish the proper function/position of the coffin bone. The deep digital flexor tenotomy procedure along with re-alignment shoeing has proven to be a valuable treatment option for rehabilitating severe laminitic cases. Many horses that are facing euthanasia when they come in return home to live a life comfortably as a pleasure horse.

My Horse Is Already In Crippling Pain. Will They Be Able To Handle This Procedure?

The Deep Digital Flexor Tenotomy procedure is quick and minimally invasive. Typically, the horse remains standing for the procedure while under local anesthesia. This surgery can immediately alleviate a source of pain by reducing the pull of the deep digital flexor tendon.

Published ARticle
Dan Carter, DVM. CJF
Podiatry

Removal of Infected Bone Fragment

This is a video documenting the removal of an infected bone fragment in a horse. You will watch a coffin bone curette, the application of a custom hoof plate and then see medical grade maggots inserted into the wound to clean out dead tissue. This procedure was completed at Countryside Veterinary Services in Covington, Ga.

From the Blog

News & Articles

As many of our clients know, we love sharing our knowledge and important animal health news. Our blog contains valuable educational resources in one easy location.

Sep 13

Decoding Equine Pain: How to Recognize the Signs

As Pain Awareness Month begins, it's crucial to spot subtle signs of discomfort in horses, often masked by their natural ability to hide pain. By closely monitoring behavior and recognizing equine facial expressions, owners can learn to spot pain.
More
Aug 8

Focus on Soundness: Strategies for Injury-Free Horses

Expert Insights from Our Veterinarians. Plus, simple yet effective tactics to prevent injuries and maintain soundness.
More
Jun 29

Sweatless Summers: Unraveling the Mystery of Anhidrosis in Horses!

Identify the telltale signs of anhidrosis in horses and the practical approaches that can make a difference...
More
Jun 28

Furry Freedom Fest: Tips for a Safe and Fun July 4th!

In preparation for the upcoming Independence Day, we dive into ways to ensure our dogs, cats, and horses have a safe Furr-ocious 4th of July!
More
Jun 4

Trending Topic: Help, my horse has hives!

Uncover the mysterious world of equine hives and discover what's really behind those itchy, raised bumps. From unexpected culprits to playing detective to find the trigger, this blog post reveals the secrets to ...
More
Jun 1

From Racing to Re-homing: Client Stories of Triumph

Derby week has come and gone, but these inspiring stories of success and triumph from some of our off-the-track Thoroughbreds are timeless.
More
Feb 27

The "Non-Steriod" Future of Arthritis Treatment

From training to competition, repetitive movements and trauma can lead to inflammation of the joint. There is a new, non-steroid, biotechnology treatment available.
More
Feb 1

Signs your horse may be dealing with a muscle disorder

Has your horse’s performance declined? Has he or she lost muscle across its top-line? Are you exerting a lot of effort to get and keep your horse going? This Post delves into muscle disorders.
More
Jan 6

All About Hoof Health

The foundation of a horse’s health is a strong, healthy hoof. Read on for insightful tips and proactive planning to ensure your horse has happy feet all year round.
More
13 Sep

Decoding Equine Pain: How to Recognize the Signs

As Pain Awareness Month begins, it's crucial to spot subtle signs of discomfort in horses, often masked by their natural ability to hide pain. By closely monitoring behavior and recognizing equine facial expressions, owners can learn to spot pain.
More
8 Aug

Focus on Soundness: Strategies for Injury-Free Horses

Expert Insights from Our Veterinarians. Plus, simple yet effective tactics to prevent injuries and maintain soundness.
More
29 Jun

Sweatless Summers: Unraveling the Mystery of Anhidrosis in Horses!

Identify the telltale signs of anhidrosis in horses and the practical approaches that can make a difference...
More
28 Jun

Furry Freedom Fest: Tips for a Safe and Fun July 4th!

In preparation for the upcoming Independence Day, we dive into ways to ensure our dogs, cats, and horses have a safe Furr-ocious 4th of July!
More
4 Jun

Trending Topic: Help, my horse has hives!

Uncover the mysterious world of equine hives and discover what's really behind those itchy, raised bumps. From unexpected culprits to playing detective to find the trigger, this blog post reveals the secrets to ...
More
1 Jun

From Racing to Re-homing: Client Stories of Triumph

Derby week has come and gone, but these inspiring stories of success and triumph from some of our off-the-track Thoroughbreds are timeless.
More
1 Mar

The "Non-Steriod" Future of Arthritis Treatment

From training to competition, repetitive movements and trauma can lead to inflammation of the joint. There is a new, non-steroid, biotechnology treatment available.
More
1 Feb

Signs your horse may be dealing with a muscle disorder

Has your horse’s performance declined? Has he or she lost muscle across its top-line? Are you exerting a lot of effort to get and keep your horse going? This Post delves into muscle disorders.
More