CAVALLO Drug Compendium: What to do about hoof cancer?

BIn this brown, even the expert has to look twice. Because where there is a back hoof of normal shape, this Hinterhuf consists almost exclusively of black growth. For a few centimeters, the stinking horn has become spongy beyond the normal shape of the hoof – an exceptional case of hoof cancer. Even for the horseshoe maker, Markus Raabe, who is an expert in this disease and should help brown back into the hooves.

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Hoof cancer (chronic pododermatitis, as well as parakeratosis) is not a cancer in the classic sense of the term in which tumor cells proliferate. The disease has been named after worm-like cauliflower growths that resemble tumors.

How does hoof cancer affect the horse?

Depending on the parts of the hoof involved, we speak of jet cancer, sole, Eckstreben or wall. These variants are almost never separated, but blend into each other. Usually, the posterior part of the furrow of the median ray falls ill at first. From there, the beam spread and Eckstreben attack, often on the lateral parts of the hoof plant.

The dermis swells in hoof cancer and becomes whitish. It forms a cheese surface that can remain invisible for a long time. Leather girls can reach half an inch; The shape and appearance of the dermis then resemble those of a cauliflower. In addition: Hoof cancer stinks, and quite penetrating.

In advanced stages, hoof cancer can spread to the walls and limp the horse. In the worst case, the coffin can rotate and undress the horse. Frequently, hoof cancer migrates high into the leaflets and then spreads to the skull.

Medicine Compendium Hoof Cancer

Lisa Wheel

Patient at risk with cold blood?

What causes hoof cancer?

Hoof cancer starts in the hoof skin. Healthy leather skins are constantly forming new epithelial cells that die and turn into dead horns. In hoof cancer, epithelial cells degenerate; instead of cornification, they form a greasy surface that ignites at a given moment.

Who is at the origin of these misguided epithelial cells, opinions differ. Many experts have suggested that poor housing conditions trigger disease. Muddy outcrops, litter soaked with fog and urine to promote hoof cancer, because in this moist environment, bacteria grow better.

However, these are rather perfect conditions for jet burns, "and the cancer of hoofs and mildew differ considerably from each other," explains the horseshoe Markus Raabe: "The burn is a rotten process in which the Existing tissue disappears.Hoof cancer, on the other hand, is a growth process that adds foreign tissue. "

The hoof specialist often treats horses with hoof cancer in his fixed smithy in Harsewinkel, North Rhine-Westphalia, and suspects other causes of the disease, namely incorrect feeding, metabolic disorders, and skin of the hoof, caused for example by improper handling.

On the subject of nutrition, Raabe points out a deficiency and overabundance of certain nutrients: "In one experiment, the horses were subjected to zinc deficiency.The result was a parakeratosis." Even after artificial supersaturation with vitamin A, she had appeared. He suspects that widespread malnutrition, especially related to overweight, may also be at the origin of hoof cancer. Many of the four-legged patients that Raabe treated were previously in a clinic or receiving medication. That too, says Raabe, could disrupt the metabolism.

Bacteria such as Fusobacterium necrophorum are also suspected to cause not only downy mildew, but also hoof cancer. Studies also indicate that types 1 and 2 of bovine papilloma virus (BPV 1/2) are involved in development. These pathogens can cause equine sarcoids, common skin cancers, in horses. Researchers at the University of Vienna examined 25 horses with hoof cancer for BPV1 / 2 infection. In the control group were 13 horses that did not suffer from the disease.

All patients with hoof cancer were carriers of the virus, not control animals. Other investigations in other universities have resulted in the same result. Papillomaviruses are likely to be transmitted from sick to healthy horses by blood-sucking insects.

Which animals are at increased risk?

Horses with tight, high hooves are at higher risk. In their narrow cracks can be more rotten niches. According to the observation of blacksmith Markus Raabe, horses that have trotters or leeches in their ancestral gallery seem to be more affected. Hoof cancer also occurs more often on the back of the hands.

How do vets and blacksmiths treat?

If hoof cancer is detected early, horse owners sometimes come for surgery. Farrier Markus Raabe had good experiences in this case with a mixture of copper sulfate pentahydrate with a solution of aluminum acetate tartrate.

However, it is often too late for such treatment – so it only helps: to decrease with growths and coatings. "Affected areas on and under the hoof must be eliminated radically," says Markus Raabe. Often, it also removes hoof balls and strut walls from the corner. The horse is locally calmed by a veterinarian and anesthetized locally. General Anesthetist, Raabe tries to avoid. this is only necessary in very serious cases.

After surgery, the diseased tissue is desolated thermochemically or chemically. The important thing in therapy is follow-up. "To treat wounds and accelerate healing, we use a solution of Merbromin and Lotagen at 2%," said Raabe.

On the operated hoof comes then a compressive bandage associated with a horseshoe or plaster cover. The pressure bandage prevents the dermis from swelling further and also stimulates it to produce a healthy hoof horn. The dressing should be checked and changed daily. In addition, the horse receives an analgesic medication in the first days after surgery.

Some veterinarians use Göttler's hoof paste ( to promote healing. It was developed by horse owners Alisa Palmer and Bärbel Göttler from Vierkirchen / Bavaria. "Their effectiveness in hoof cancer has been tested in cooperation with veterinary veterinarian Dr. Med Robert Ruff, hoof orthopedist and Wolfesing Equine Clinic, confirmed," said Palmer. "The paste is a pure natural product, has anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antibacterial properties." The peculiarity: the hoof paste is like modeling clay, so that it can be modeled in the grooves of the jets and in this protective filling.

It is difficult to predict how long the treatment lasts. Some Markus Raabe patients were ready to be used after four to six weeks, others after six months. "However, we have a cure rate of almost 100%," says Raabe. So the brown is healthy again.

How to prevent hoof cancer?

The hoof care, hygiene and a professional and regular treatment of hooves by an expert in hooves protect hooves. A proper diet providing the horse with all the nutrients is also important.

Patient at risk with cold blood?

Cold-blooded animals often have a lower horn quality related to race. This could possibly promote hoof cancer, according to the opinion of some experts, such as the coach of the horseshoe Burkhart Rau. However, the higher weight and associated nutrient requirements may also play a role. The alleged expert in diet, Dr. med. Susanne Weyrauch-Wiegand.