Autunno e cura dello zoccolo

revisione 2017

Quel che segue in inglese è un breve passo estratto dalla lunga sequenza di articoli dedicata al fettone scritti dalla veterinaria C.Platz.

Con l’approssimarsi dell’inverno, l’aumento dell’umidità ed il fango sono inevitabili. La periodica osservazione e disinfezione dello zoccolo sono la  migliore prevenzione. Lo zoccolo non è al sicuro per il solo fatto di essere sferrato. La pulizia scrupolosa, l’attenzione consapevole differenziano il vero barefooter.

Pur “naturalizzata” la vita dei cavalli domestici rimane un surrogato di quella di un selvatico. Lo zoccolo necessita della nostra cura. La “filosofia” del “let it be” e “let him/her alone” lasciano il tempo che trovano e sono una imperdonabile leggerezza quando non mascherano incapacità.

Con questo che cosa suggerisco?

Il fettone deve essere esplorato in ogni parte e cavita’. Non deve essere ridotto ad una altezza prestabilita ma lasciato addensare grazie alla pressione esercitata su di esso passo dopo passo dal peso del cavallo. Pochi sono i casi che necessitano riduzione. Ogni cavità deve essere controllata per la presenza di funghi e batteri, pulita e trattata. Durante la stagione secca non è affatto necessario ritagliare parti lungo le lacune collaterali per permettere una migliore autopulizia. Questa misura preventiva dovrebbe essere adottata con cautela e minimamente solamente durante la stagione umida tenendo presente che ogni asportazione di tessuto espone il sottostante all’infezione. La alta densità del fettone è la migliore protezione. Tenete presente che ogni farmaco o disinfettante attacca od agisce anche sul tessuto sano oltre che su quello infetto. L’arma migliore contro il “trush” e’ il movimento e l’igiene dell’ambiente. Con il movimento e la stimolazione del derma del fettone e quindi la crescita  si può combattere efficacemente la digestione del fettone da parte di funghi e batteri superandoli semplicemente in velocità. La funzione abrasiva del terreno fa il resto. Gentamicina e un antimicotico miscelati 50/50 possono essere utilizzati per i trattamenti in caso di trush. Con una grossa siringa si possono raggiungere le cavità più profonde. Questo e’ un sistema largamente utilizzato, diffuso da Pete Ramey. I farmaci utilizzati in medicina umana costano considerevolmente meno degli stessi farmaci utilizzati in medicina veterinaria commercializzati con nomi differenti.

Cercate nella sezione pareggio della pagina letture : Pulizia e prevenzione… La soluzione di solfato di rame in aceto é la più semplice ed efficace miscela disinfettante utilizzabile con continuità durante l’anno.

Why Do Horses Get Frog Disease?

Pathogens are ubiquitous in the horse’s environment.

Those that prefer anaerobic living conditions probably cause most frog infections, but the great variety in how the disease presents, progresses and responds to treatment suggests that a number of different organisms, as well as mixed infections, may invade the foot. Because of their tiny size, pathogens do not need a visible defect to gain access, but colonization is facilitated by flaps, layers, slits and cavities, which provide a moist anaerobic environment. Persisting deep in the tissue, disease can be difficult to detect, both in the early stages, and after superficial areas appear healed. Signs may not be apparent until the infection is well established or re-established.

The living conditions of domestic horses encourage and sustain frog disease. Unstabled confined horses tend to cluster around water sources, feed areas and shelter, resulting in prolonged exposure of their hooves to urine and manure. Ammonia in these wastes damages hoof and frog horn, facilitating invasion by harmful organisms. Stabled horses may also suffer prolonged exposure to ammonia from bedding soiled with manure and urine.

Moisture in lush pastures, damp bedding or mud softens horn, making it more friable and thus vulnerable to invasion by pathogens.

Rubber mats, especially when used without bedding, seem to promote re-infection. In many cases, the ground beneath the mats provides an ideal location for fungal growth, as is known by every groom who had to strip and disinfect a dirt stall.

Fortunately these areas can be disinfected. If not scrupulously clean, bedding can also promote disease, not only by retaining moisture and ammonia, but also becoming a reservoir of organic material to support microbial growth. Classic thrush is often associated with standing in dirty stalls.

Dry conditions do not guarantee frog health. The function and physiology of the horse’s hoof evolved in response to the demands of constant travel over long distances and rough terrain. Under most natural (not pasture or induced exercise) conditions, frog horn grows approximately as fast as it is worn away, so trimming is unnecessary, and excess horn is not available to provide a haven for infection. Since most domestic horses do not have the opportunity to adequately self-trim, human intervention including trimming is necessary to accommodate the discrepancy between the lifestyle the frog was designed for and its modern circumstances.

Optimal horn growth and development are dependent on circulation of blood and lymph, which in turn is dependent on movement, i.e. Repeatedly loading and unloading of the foot. Even in large pastures, domestic horses rarely approach the distances traveled by wild horses. Stabled horses with periodic or daily turnout do not even come close, especially those who have no companion with whom to play. Because most domestic horses do not get enough exercise for optimum foot health, their frog horn is not as tough and resistant to invasion as that of unconfined horses in true natural conditions.

Systemic health is intimately related to the health of the equine foot, so any factor which affects overall health including nutrition, stress, and chronic or acute disease has an effect on frog health, as well. Metabolically-challenged horses are at increased risk for infection. Cushing’s disease, insulin resistance, obesity and other maladies of the modern horse can all compromise foot health. Genetics undoubtedly play a role; full siblings living in a group showed similar susceptibility to hoof problems, while herd mates responded differently to the same management conditions.

Frog trimming is a controversial topic in hoof care circles. Recommendations range from radical excision to a complete hands-off policy. Current popular theories include “only take what would come off by itself,” “the frog has its own wisdom and is capable of self-maintenance” and “never touch the collateral grooves because they are too sensitive.”

The first two theories may be appropriate for populations of healthy free-ranging horses whose social and nutritional circumstances dictate continuous and unlimited movement over abrasive varied terrain. Since this is not the case for most domestic horses, their foot care protocol must be adjusted accordingly. Years of experience using judicious technique to address infection in collateral grooves have shown that trimming, cleaning and treating them has not been damaging. While it may be true that infected collateral grooves can be quite sensitive, eliminating disease in the collateral grooves eliminates this sensitivity. It also improves the health of the white lines by removing a constant source of infection. Several horses who suffered years of chronic, repeated and extensive foot abscesses were healed by treating occult disease in the collateral grooves after other approaches, including corrective shoeing and trimming by highly qualified practitioners, scrupulous diet and environmental management, rehabilitative exercise and recommendations by a regional referral clinic, all failed to help.

By interfering with the natural expansion of the hoof capsule, decreasing frog/ground contact, and altering hoof mechanics, shoeing can contribute to the development of frog disease. If the caudal extent of the collateral grooves is covered by the heel of the shoe, it cannot be adequately cleaned.

In summary, frog disease is largely a condition of domestication. The demands of living in the human world are often in conflict with equine physiology, as it evolved over time. While the philosophy of “natural horse keeping” is admirable, caretakers must be realistic and honest with themselves about the unavoidable negative impact of modern life on the horse’s health. The conscientious owner or equine professional must be responsible for taking steps to do what they can to recognize, treat and prevent the damage that horses inevitably suffer due to human management.

Frog care, including management practices which discourage disease, as well as daily maintenance and treatment when infection occurs, are relatively easy and inexpensive ways to improve the quality of life for modern horses and those who care about them.

Questo articolo è stato pubblicato in Letture, Pareggio il da .

Informazioni su Franco Belmonte

Born 1952. Degree in Biological Sciences University of Genova, Italy. Researcher, CNR of Italy 1977-'80 (neurochemistry) then various task related to biology till now. Active Member and Certified Trimmer of the American Hoof Association. Didactic activity: equine podiatry and nutrition. Area of interest: evolution and physiology. Airline pilot and flight instructor for living 1981-2002.