What is club foot?
The UC Davis Book of Horses defines a club foot as "a flexural deformity of the coffin joint resulting in a raised heel." While the number one cause of a clubbed foot is genetics, other causes include diet, injury, or another painful condition that leads the horse to avoid bearing weight on that limb. Club foot presents itself in many different degrees of severity, called grades.
How do I tell if my horse has a club foot?
A hoof that is a club foot will have a flare at the toe (note this is just at the toe and not on the sides of the whole hoof). You can also tell by comparing the heels of both feet on the horse. If your horse has a club foot, the heel will be higher on that foot than it is on the normal foot. The club foot will also appear narrower and the frog will be smaller than the normal foot. The angle of the hoof will be greater than 60 degrees on the club foot.
What can be done to treat a club foot?
In order for any treatment to be successful, the problem must be detected early and taken care of right away. Corrective trimming and correcting any underlying causes of the problem can lessen the severity of the club foot. With less severe cases, trimming the hooves more frequently to lower the heels may be the only treatment needed. Surgery can be used to treat more severe cases along with the use of oxytetracycline, which relaxes the tendons involved.If anyone is interested in learning more about club foot in horses, the following is a link to an extremely informative website: http://www.nanric.com/Howtotreatclubfeet.asp