Keratoma recovery

Horse: 5yo Arabian gelding

Grey gelding

Grey gelding

During a trim visit, the EP noticed an abnormality in the white line of the left fore. Pictures were taken and forwarded to the client so she could monitor the section of the hoof and take action if anything changed about the appearance.

Close ups of hoof wall, showing the bulge sola, and deviation of white line

Keratoma hoof deviation

Two weeks later the abnormality had increased, so the vet was called.  After x-rays, which showed the suspected keratoma, the horse underwent an operation for its removal.

The client was keen on a barefoot rehabilitation and the vet agreed. Since the horse remained in the stable for the initial part of the rehabilitation, only wound hygiene was required at this stage, which was done by the owner herself.  Two months after the operation, when the site had healed over sufficiently, the vet requested a first trim.

Due to the lack of movement and wear in the stable, the hoof grew very long with lots of unexfoliated sole. The lack of stimulation also meant the new hoof wall growth was thinner at the top than it was at the bottom; you can see a pronounced ridge on the hoof wall. After the first trim the horse started in hand walking and the hoof grew rapidly again. This resulted in a distorted hoof capsule so the focus during these first three trims was to remove excess hoof horn, re-establish balance, and work towards a more normal hoof shape.

An abscess burst on the opposite side of the hoof to where the keratoma had been removed – most likely due to the horse loading more into this area while the other side was in the process of healing. This required further hygiene management from the owner. Nevertheless, the horse returned to turnout in hoof boots soon after and continued his barefoot rehabilitation.

All in all it took around ¾ of a year until the hoof had returned to his ideal form. Interestingly, it took almost a full year before the deviation in the white line had fully grown out. The worry persisted for quite some time that the keratoma would return; luckily this worry was unfounded, and the horse remains keratoma and issue free three years later. His hoof health is very good and has returned to pre-keratoma levels; there are no strength or stability issues, and he has no limitations to his workload.