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Horse Hoof Conditions: Punctures, Cracks and Abscesses

A number of injuries and conditions can affect your horse’s hooves, all of which need to be addressed as soon as possible in order to prevent them from developing into something more severe. Here is a look at ome of the injuries that may occur to your horse’s hooves.


A puncture occurs when a nail or other object pierces your horse’s sole. If the object does not fall out on its own, you should not attempt to pull it out. Rather, you should protect the punctured foot with wrapping or a slip-on medication boot before calling your veterinarian to care for the wound.


An abscess may occur if your horse experienced a puncture wound and the object fell out on its own. An abscess may also occur from a badly placed shoeing nail or a bruise. Symptoms of an abscess include a digital pulse that is stronger than usual or a foot that is warmer than usual to the touch. Call your veterinarian immediately if you suspect an abscess.


While some hoof cracks are superficial, others can worsen over time and can cause damage to the hoof structure. In some cases, cracks can also be caused by abscesses. Contact your farrier if you notice a crack in your horse’s hoof.

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