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Hoof Puncture Wound Preparedness

Cavallo Horse Hoof Boots to help puncture wounds

No One Expects a Hoof Puncture Wound

We can’t always control every part of the surfaces we ride on. Sometimes small, sharp objects are on or in the ground, and there is no way to know they’re there. Your horse may never come up against a hoof puncture wound – but don’t wait until it happens to find out what to do.

“Can you help my horse heal from a puncture wound?” At Cavallo, we get asked this question often. It’s a heartbreaking inquiry because I know how long it takes for a hoof to heal from a hoof puncture wound. But I am always happy to be asked because I know I can offer advice that will help the horse to be much more comfortable as he heals. Here’s a question we received earlier this year:

Nails and screws can cause serious hoof puncture woundsQ: My horse stepped on a nail.

I am so grateful that it didn’t poke through a bone! The veterinarian has treated him and given him a good (but cautious) prognosis and he’ll need some healing time. What advice do you have to help him feel more comfortable as he heals?

A: What a scary thing to happen. I’m glad the veterinarian thinks he will heal well with time…

I remember one of the horses in my barn had a puncture wound from a nail that came right up through her sole and out the side wall of his hoof. After the veterinarian was called, we cleaned the wound out first with a squirt bottle and packed it with antiseptic-soaked cotton batting. The horse’s owner (a diligent soul) repeated this about four times a day. It was held in place with her Cavallo Hoof Boot. First, we hosed it out, and then we sprayed the inside of the boot with antiseptic every time his dressing was changed. This worked very well. Horses have an amazing ability to heal, given half a chance and a little help. I hope this personal story will reassure you. Read on for a little more about puncture wounds:

A Hoof’s Natural Defenses

Hooves are made of “horn” and are usually very resilient to being hit, poked or bumped. The outer hoof wall protects the horse’s inner structures–where the bones, joints, tendons, and ligaments are found. While the hoof capsule protects well if a horse kicks a hard tree or obstacle, the hoof can be affected most easily if the horse steps on something sharp. Puncture wounds most often occur when a horse steps on a nail, screw or another sharp object that goes up through the hoof sole.


Untreated puncture wounds can lead to serious problems for your horse. It might be best to call your veterinarian who may take radiographs to find out where the puncture went and what structures are affected. Because of this, be sure not to pull out a nail or screw by yourself if it is far into the hoof– you may cause more injury if the item is pulled out at the wrong angle.

Once the puncturing culprit is identified, located and removed, your horse may need antibiotics to ward off infection. Your veterinarian is likely to check whether your horse’s tetanus inoculation is current.

Hoof Punctures HURT.

Carole Herder Soaking Hoof BootOnce a hoof puncture is confirmed, one thing is certain – a hoof puncture HURTS.  Protecting your horse’s punctured hoof with a Cavallo Boot not only prevents something from bumping against the hoof that could hurt – but it also makes every step predictable for your horse. Uneven ground, rocks, gravel or icy protrusions won’t affect your horse’s pain levels, because Cavallo Boot soles will keep the punctured area from coming into contact with any surface that could cause pain. You will notice your horse moving more comfortably with her Cavallos on. We do recommend also using a Cavallo Boot on the opposing hoof as well, just to make sure you don’t create an imbalance within your horse’s structure by elevating just one hoof for a period of time.

Ongoing Treatment with Less Pain

During your horse’s healing time, it will be most important to keep her hoof wrapped and clean. Your Cavallo Hoof Boots will help keep your horse’s wound and wrap cleaner than if applying duct tape outside the wrapping–and it’s easier to check the wound and reapply. Your horse may also benefit from putting Cavallo Comfort Pads or Cushion Pads inside your Cavallos. These pads will provide extra cushion and help alleviate pain.

A Pro Tip that Costs Nothing:

Don’t throw out your old Cavallo Boots! Keep them in a dry, well-ventilated spot in case the need ever arises to be used while your horse heals from a hoof puncture wound or any other hoof ailment or injury. You will be glad you did!

Dominica’s Success Story

Horse with puncture wound recovers with Cavallo Trek Hoof BootsA Cavallo customer sent us this great message. I love to share other horse owners’ real stories because they can go a long way to calm your mind as your horse heals.

“My name is Dominica, and my horse is named Flyer. We want to thank you for making such wonderful boots. I have seen other people who were advised by their farrier to get boots, who bought other brands and had so many problems. Flyer is currently recovering from a puncture on the bottom of his hoof. He’s very sore, and it’s taken a while for him to recover enough to be cleared to go outside again. When I was told he needed a boot, I immediately bought one of your boots. He wore it out for the first time yesterday and it made all the difference in the world. It’s protecting his foot while it heals, he can run and move in it (as much as a lame horse can run). It stays in place and doesn’t twist or come off. I’m so happy with this boot and it does the job perfectly. Thank you for making amazing boots to help my best friend be able to go outside and live a normal life while he recovers. Many thanks from us both.”

Get help finding your horse’s size and order horse hoof boots today HERE!

Wishing you many happy trails,



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