A 6 month study into the effect of feeding 4Feet on hoof condition using a recognised and standardised scoring system
Horses (n=30) with poor hoof condition were recruited through social media. Owners were required to take a set of photographs of all four feet before the start of the trial and then monthly for 6 months. At the end of the trial the photographs were randomised with respect to date, horse and leg and scored by a veterinary surgeon (Dr Rachel Murray, Animal Health Trust, Newmarket) using a recognised hoof scoring system. Median scores for all four feet were used for further analysis.
Each image was scored as follows: Coronary Band condition (1=straight (normal); 2=Concave; 3=Convex; 4=damaged), Horn Tubule Orientation (1=parallel (normal); 2=nonparallel), Growth Rings (1=nondivergent (normal); 2=divergent), Dorsal Hoof Wall (1=straight (normal); 2=concave; 3=convex), Haemorrhage (1=absent (normal); 2=present), Periople (1=smooth (normal); 2=rough), Cracks Number (1=none (normal); 2=few; 3=many), Cracks Location (1=solar margin; 2=distal quarter; 3=distal 1/2; 4=distal 3/4; 5=entire wall), Hoof Wall Surface (1=smooth (normal); 2=rough), Wall Solar Margin (1=intact (normal); 2=powdery; 3=broken), Shoeing (1=shod; 2=unshod).
There were significant increases after 6 months of feeding 4Feet in the percentage of horses with straight coronary bands, smooth periople and smooth hoof wall surface. This is consistent with an effect of the supplement on the growth of the hoof over the 6 month period of supplementation. In addition, there were significant reductions in lameness, horses losing shoes, cracking, foot weakness and crumbling (owner reported responses in questionnaire).
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