In most cases, a horse‘s frog comes off bit by bit, eventually. The will slowly flake off, being trimmed by the hard ground the horse is stepping on or a farrier‘s knife can be used as well.
Most horses can manage their own frogs, flaking bits as time passes. In most cases, the frog sheds several times a year due to natural occurrences. In case there is any excess frog, it is typically removed by the farrier when they trim the hoof, so owners sometimes do not notice that this is a normal cycle.
The frog is a living and dynamic structure, continuing to grow even if it is unhealthy. Frog can also recover, but it may take some time, depending on the age of the horse and what he’s doing. Frogs on horses are treated by an established standard method, but response to the treatment can be different. Horses have variable responses to this treatment, with some cases healing within a week to 10 days and others lasting for several months. Once the tissue is healed, the disease rarely comes back. But if the treatment is halted, postponed or stopped entirely before the healing process is complete, the infection is known to return — much to the frustration of the veterinarian and owner as well.
Regularly performing hoof care is the best way to avoid this issue entirely. Cleaning out all the grooves of the frog and using ointments and oils suited to the climate conditions and the condition of the hoof also help keep frogs healthy. Regular trimming by a farrier also helps ensure hoof condition is regularly monitored.
Table Of Contents
- What causes a horse to lose its frog?
- Can a horse’s frog grow back?
- What is the purpose of a horse’s frog?
- Should a horse’s frog be soft?
- Can you put hoof oil on the frog?
What causes a horse to lose its frog?
Most horses shed the frog at least twice a year, sometimes more often. On most occasions, the peeling of the frog can occur along with conditions that favor the development of thrush, such as lack of exercise, lameness, a chronically wet environment, and especially poor hoof care.
Treatment of the horse‘s rotting frog is also very important. The affected parts of the frog must be cut away,preferably by a farrier, trimmer or hoof care therapist. The removal of the rotting tissue is important to allow healthy tissue to grow. Brush the frog clean, you may use some water to do so, followed by drying of the sole and frog.
Hardening a horse frog can also be a great trick. Some horse owners purchase special products for hardening the frog, while others apply iodine to their horse’s frog in order to make them more resilient.
Finally, it is extremely important to remove any extra tissue which is hanging loose. Hanging or loose tissue on the ground surface of the hoof is extraneous and likely to trap matter and moisture. The effects of this can be more serious in the future and the horse can suffer pain or even be incapacitated for a while.
Can a horse’s frog grow back?
Yes, frogs can grow back, even the unhealthy ones. They are a living, dynamic structure, whose growth depends on the condition of the horse, his age, and his regular daily activities.
In order to help the frog grow faster, the horse owner can take certain measures, that will expedite the frog‘s growth:
- Rebalance the foot in the trim, ideally using radiographs as your guide.
- Disinfect any frog or heel infection.
- Protect the frog by adding a prosthetic heel until the horse can grow the wall back.
Treating a sore frog on a horse is an important aspect of keeping the animal safe and healthy. Initially, the farrier will also treat the thrush much like a dirty wound, trimming away the loose, diseased frog tissue and possibly applying dilute bleach. The owner can follow this up with applications of a mild astringent, such as Betadine®, or another anti-thrush product.
Horses require regular care when it comes to their frog and neglecting this aspect can cause a lot of pain and distress to the owner‘s beloved animals. By regular checks and careful observation, these issues can be avoided and the frog will naturally peel off and grow back every time without any painful and potentially dangerous situations for the horse.
What is the purpose of a horse’s frog?
The horse‘s frog acts as a shock absorber for the foot when it makes contact with the ground, decreasing the force placed on the bones and joints of the leg. The frog is also an important part of the horse’s circulatory system — it pumps blood up the horse’s leg each time the frog makes contact with the ground.
The frog is an important and delicate part of the horse‘s leg and it needs proper care and careful observation. Thanks to the blood that is being pumped into it, the frog acts as a kind of cushion. Once the blood reaches the frog and the tiny blood vessels within it, it is pumped back as soon as the horse steps on the ground with full weight using the leg in question. The cushion is the top part of the frog, situated just above the main part and used to relieve the pressure from bones and the weight of the horse.
Farriers usually take care of frogs on the legs of horses, trimming only the unnecessary parts that stick out and leaving it as wide as possible, in order to cover as much ground as possible. Several illnesses and infections are caused because of poorly kept horse frogs: lameness and thrush infection being the most common ones.
Should a horse’s frog be soft?
No, a horse’s frog should not be soft. This state usually points to some kind of infection, most commonly a thrush infection.
Thrush is an infection that is easy for your vet and/or farrier to recognize. Thrush can occur when the horse stands in a damp environment for a longer period. The hooves become soft and weak and cannot recover, making the horse‘s frog soft as well.
A horse frog is hardened by applying medication or a product to the sole of the horse’s hoof that is specifically designed to harden the hoof. Some horse owners purchase special products for this, such as iodine.
Another way of keeping the frog hard is by regularly trimming it once or twice a year, or a farrier can do that as well. By carefully removing any loose extra bits, significantly lowers the risk of a hoof infection or injury. However, trimming should not be performed too often, because of the risk of cutting the frog too much, which can be just as dangerous.
In cases where the frog is too soft and has the appearance like it could pop at any moment, it is advised to visit a veterinarian as soon as possible.
Can you put hoof oil on the frog?
Certainly, various oils and ointments can be put on the frog to keep it healthy and strong, protecting it from harmful elements.
The application of oil on the frog should leave a thin, even layer of hoof oil on the surface of the hoof. Using hoof oil just to give the horse’s hooves a shiny appearance is just as bad as leaving it unattended. It should only be used when there is a problem keeping your horse’s hooves moisturized properly and the frog is getting dry and loose.
To correctly apply frog oil on the hoof, one must apply it lightly to the entire hoof, paying particular attention to the area on and just above the coronet band and the rest of the face of the hoof. It needs to be applied to the frog and sole only 1 or 2 times a week. Again because it really works and goes in, too much can make the frog go soft, that is just as bad as not applying the oil at all or even worsen the situation.
In addition to hoof oils, hoof supplements and conditioners can be used as well to improve and protect the entire hoof, as well as the frog of the horse.