Degloving, also called avulsion, is a type of severe injury that happens when the top layers of your skin and tissue are ripped from the underlying muscle, connective tissue, or bone. It can affect any body part, but it’s more common in the legs.
Many breeds of horses were not bred with hoof strength in mind leading to weaker hoofs in some breeds. However, in normal condition horses do not need horseshoes and can go without, which is referred to as barefooting. Horse hoofs are similar to human nails, only much thicker.
While it takes nearly a year for an adult horse to grow out a length of hoof, a young foal can replace his hoof wall in half that time, according to new research from England. Foals will replace their entire hoof wall in about 145 days, much quicker than mature horses.
In most cases Horses who suffer a fully degloved horse hoof will not have a good prospect of returning to soundness. This is because they must regrow the entire hoof capsule which will likely take at least a full year. During this time they will suffer with severe lameness which increases the risk of developing other conditions in the meantime. Even if they do fully re-grow their horse hoof there is a risk that the new hoof will have some abnormalities which means that the horse would remain permanently lame. However a full recovery is possible with the right treatment and medical supervision. Read more about Abi and Nemos road to recovery here.
The recovery prospects of a horse who has suffered a degloved horse hoof also depends on factors such as age and overall health. A foal who is strong and healthy stands a much better chance than an older horse who is in poor condition prior to losing their hoof capsule.
Another factor which impacts recovery prospects is whether or not the suffers an infection in the exposed foot. An infection following a serious injury will further complicate a horses prospects of recovering.
The best prevention to avoid a degloved horse hoof is to ensure that the horse has good overall hoof health. This includes such activities as:
Regular trips to the farrier:- Book a regular slot with a farrier to ensure that your horse is properly shod. A farier will also be able to flag any potential issues which may require treatment.
Daily checks : It is a good idea to perform a daily check of the your horses hoof any signs of hoof conditions such as thrush, cracks, bruising, loose shoes, abscesses, and swelling. Conditions such as these can cause a horses feet to deteriorate quickly if not picked up which can lead to laminitis and other more serious conditions.
Cleaning : Keeping hooves clean can can help prevent problems and also ensures you see minor issues before they become more worrisome ones. You should pick your horse hooves clean every time you groom the horse.
Ensure good nutrition : Talk to your vet about what kind of feed and supplements your horse requires to ensure good hoof health
Environment : Ensure a safe environment for your horse will significantly increase the risk of hoof damage. When they are out be mindful of icy patches, hot ground, and hazardous trails which could lead to serious injury such as a partial or full hoof capsule separation.