Epsom salts, available at most tack shops, feed stores, and pharmacies, is magnesium sulfate. It’s chunkier than regular salt, and dissolves easily in water. In the horse world, epsom salts are commonly used for helping to treat a hoof abscess. When epsom salts get wet, the absorb moisture, which is the “drawing out” part of treating an abscess.
If your horse should come up lame, it’s prudent to call your Veterinarian. Hoof abscesses mimic a lot of other hoof problems, from bruises to punctures, to fractures to laminitis. An abscess also need to be located and hopefully a tract can be cut into the hoof to relieve the pressure and allow the pus to drain.
Epsom salts might then enter the picture, as they can only help with draining an abscess after a tract has been made. Without the tract there, the epsom salts are simply softening the hoof and sole of your horse.
You have some options here to use epsom salts on your horse. Most Vets will give you a formula of epsom slats, betadine, and hot water to create a soak. Your Vet will also give you the frequency and length of time to do the soaking.
You can also use an epsom salt packing in a hoof bandage, so that the epsom salts work ‘round the clock. This concoction is bright green, so be careful not to let it stain your clothes or your horse’s white legs. You can pack the paste in your horse’s sole, then wrap and bandage.
It’s always a good idea to have some epsom salts on hand, just in case!
Ichthammol is a dark and sticky black salve that draws out infections. It’s made of a base ingredient, like beeswax or paraffin, mixed with sulfur rich shale. The shale starts as sedimentary rock, and through a series of steps becomes an oil of which ichthammol is made.
Horse Hoof Anatomy - The Frog
When you look at the horse’s hoof in great detail, there’s a lot more going on than just the sole, wall, and what’s inside. The frog has some critical functions in the hoof as well as the rest of the horse.
The frog is the spongy triangular shaped tissue on the hoof bottom. The apex, or pointy part, points to the front of the hoof. The base is wider and extends out the back of the hoof. The hoof’s center of gravity is at the approximate apex of the frog.
Anatomy of the horse’s hoof - the coronary band!
The coronary band is the junction between the hair and the hoof. Seems simple enough, but the function of the coronary band is much more important. This is the source of hoof growth! Proper nutrition for your horse’s hooves starts here.