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Home:Equine Diseases: Equine Pedal Osteitis

Equine Diseases

Equine Pedal Osteitis

Equine pedal osteitis is a condition wherein the horse’s pedal bone (the main bone in the foot) has become inflamed or bruised (non-septic ) or infected via bacteria (septic).  
With equine pedal osteitis, the forelegs are more susceptible to the condition mainly because they have to carry much more weight than the hind legs.  Horses suffering from equine pedal osteitis sometimes have a history of lameness in the forelegs.  Equine pedal osteitis can affect both forelegs.

Symptoms of Equine Pedal Osteitis


  • Infection in the foot near the coffin bone – septic equine pedal osteitis


  • Inflammation/bruising in the foot near the coffin bone – non-septic equine pedal osteitis


Causes of Equine Pedal Osteitis


  • Too much work on hard ground
  • Thin hooves
  • The condition known as "flat feet” 
  • Poor foot conformation
  • Hoof imbalance
  • Bad shoeing
  • Bacteria from an open wound e.g. the horse stepped on something piercing like glass or a nail


Treatment of Equine Pedal Osteitis


Non-septic equine pedal osteitis

  • Equine pedal osteitis is difficult to diagnose so you will need to consult your vet who will carry out a series of tests and x-rays.
  • Corrective shoeing – your farrier is very important here. Bar shoes or central support shoes are often prescribed to try and counteract poor foot conformation.  
  • Precise Trimming of the hoof to improve foot balance
  • Anti-inflammatory medications such as phenylbutazone,
  • Rest
  • Gentle exercise


Septic equine pedal osteitis

  • A procedure called surgical debridement may be undertaken using a neural block or general anaesthesia to drain away the infection
  • Antibiotic medication