M&D Farrier Service & Hoof Doctor: Case Study
M&D Farrier Service, run by Mike and his wife Denise, has been shoeing horses around the country for nearly 30 years. Regardless of whether they are working in Montana or Idaho, Las Vegas, Nevada, across the southwest, or close to home in the southeast—there’s one question every horse owner asks them:
“Is there something I can use on my horse’s feet to fix them?”
For most of his career, Mike has not been a fan of topical solutions. The products he tried didn’t seem to work on the issues he was trying to treat. Plus, the oil-based options clogged up his tools.
“The hoof has to breathe, and all that gooey stuff closed the hoof off,” he said. “The outer wall of the hoof is made of a horn material, like a deer’s antlers. So, a hoof dressing has to be able to penetrate that, as bacteria and microbes do, so it can get in there and treat the hoof.”
His opinion of topical hoof dressings changed when he read about the healing properties of birch bark. It’s been used for centuries in both human and veterinary medicine because of its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory qualities.
The main component of Birch Bark is called betulin—it’s what gives birch its characteristic white color. Research studies conducted in human medicine have provided evidence that betulin has naturally occurring pain-relieving qualities, which provide relief to horses suffering from a variety of hoof ailments.
Birch bark extract is one of the main active ingredients in Hoof Doctor; when Mike called to learn more, they offered free samples for him to try. As soon as the samples arrived, he put the product to the test.
Putting it to the Test
One client had a horse with a severe abscess that blew out at the hairline. Not only was Mike looking to eradicate the infection, but he also wanted to stabilize and heal the hoof that was left.
“I watched it dry up an abscess in three days,” he said. “Best of all, we were able to save that horse from losing more foot.”
Living in the southeast, the humidity and damp conditions are like a petri dish for bacteria and fungus growth. Not only does he use Hoof Doctor to treat foot conditions such as thrush, he also encourages horse owners to use it daily for greater hoof protection and issue prevention. The thinner liquid absorbs deep into the hoof wall, where it can fight pathogens that get in and cause damage, he says.
In addition to the betulin from birch bark, which helps the hoof horn grow, Hoof Doctor also contains Vitamin A, Vitamin D, and Omega-3 oil for increased potency and effectiveness of the product’s healing effect on the hoof.
Application Is Easy as 1, 2, 3!
Applying Hoof Doctor is an easy process:
- Coat Hoof Doctor on the heels and soles first, if using it on the underside of the feet. This product is runnier than others, so Mike recommends removing the excess by running the brush (included with each can) along the inside edge of the can before application.
- Start on the front of the hoof and paint Hoof Doctor onto the hairline. Mike says the application process is like painting. The first application will create drips that run down the hoof, which can be worked into the hoof with the brush before adding more.
- Turn the horses out or leave them in their stalls. Hoof Doctor soaks in quickly, so you can turn them out right away. “When you go out the next day, it even looks like it’s still wet—even in extremely dry climates,” he mentioned.
For horses with moderate to severe hoof problems, Mike advises clients to apply Hoof Doctor daily for one week. He recommends using it three times a week when used as maintenance.
Sticking to a Schedule
Mike emphasizes that there is no substitute for regular farrier work, and maintaining a consistent schedule is the most important way to promote healthy hooves. Plus, he says that each horse is an individual and must be treated as such. However, he has put Hoof Doctor to the test.
He had a new client bring a horse with an extreme case of founder. Three of the horse’s four coffin bones had been penetrated to the sole and white line disease had set in. The horse was set to be euthanized, so the owner called M&D Farrier Service for help.
Mike and Denise agreed to have the horse moved to their stable and began an 18-month rehabilitation process. Mike wishes he had Hoof Doctor from the start, but he hadn’t learned about the product until several months into care. When he received Hoof Doctor, he began applying it to the horse’s hooves daily and within days, the infection was drying up in the abscessed areas, keeping the fungus and bacteria from destroying more foot.
“This was a pretty harsh test, as I was using the product to help heal a severe problem that had already developed,” he stated. “I believe this product is designed to help heal and prevent hoof problems—there is absolutely no doubt that if you use this product as they recommend, you will prevent hoof problems.”
Prevention and Healing
An ounce of prevention is always worth more than a pound of cure. Consistently using Hoof Doctor will have a lasting healthy impact on a horse’s feet.
“There is absolutely no doubt that if you use this product as recommended, you will more than prevent hoof problems,” he said. “Being consistent with Hoof Doctor will have a lasting healthy impression on your horse’s feet.”
Think a horse has good feet and won’t benefit from regular application of a topical hoof product? Here are a few scenarios that may make you want to reconsider:
- Is the horse tender-footed on stones or roads?
- Does the horse's hoof smell unpleasant?
- Are there deep cracks in the hooves?
- Does the horse need farrier care more frequently than every four weeks?
- Does the hoof look excessively dry?
- Is the sole of the hoof soft?
- Is the horse stalled?
- Does the horse work only on dry ground?
Is the horse missing any part of its hoof wall?
Strong hooves are the foundation of a healthy horse. Without solid feet, a horse can’t live a comfortable life in the performance arena or in the pasture and Hoof Doctor supports critical hoof growth.
“Hoof Doctor is one of those things that needs to be on the shelf in every tack room,” Mike said. “I always like to read the ingredients on the products I use and if you research the ingredients here in this product, you will be impressed. All-natural is something you can't go wrong with.”