Podiatry: Case of the Keratoma
A keratoma is often classified as a benign tumor that grows inside of 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.