Prevalence of Hoof Disorders in Horses in South Korea

The Open Agriculture Journal 20 Mar 2020 RESEARCH ARTICLE DOI: 10.2174/1874331502014010025



Few studies have investigated hoof disorders, which are closely associated with musculoskeletal diseases in horses in South Korea. Therefore, this study was undertaken to investigate hoof disorders during regular hoof trimming in Korea to gather basic data for the management of racehorse and riding horse hooves.


The purpose of the present study was to investigate hoof disorders to gather basic data for the management of racehorse and riding horse hooves in South Korea.


This study investigated hoof diseases in 2,241 racehorses and 650 riding horses in South Korea. Hoof disorders were observed during regular hoof trimming in the winter (from December 2017 to January 2018) by 30 experienced farriers. The hoof disorders that were scored and recorded were: Thrush (T), White Line Disease (WLD), Superficial Hoof Wall Cracks (SHWC), Hoof Wall Separation (HWS), Defects of the Hoof Wall (DHW), Wounds (W), Inflammation of the Bulb (IB), Quittor (Q), and Laminitis (L). Each lesion was scored as absence (normal) or presence (mild, moderate, or severe) upon inspection and was determined as mild, moderate, or severe with regard to the pain test. The severity and pain of each lesion were determined according to the criteria of the KFA. A positive diagnosis of having a hoof disorder was when abnormalities were found in one or more of the hooves of each horse.


The mean age of these racehorses and riding horses was 5.5 years (from 2 to 9 years old) and 14.5 years (from 3 to 26 years old), respectively. More than half of the horses were male (38% stallions and 23% geldings). According to the survey of hoof diseases in domestic horses, the most prevalent hoof disorder was thrush (4.2%). Other identified disorders were superficial hoof wall crack (SHWC, 1.2%), white line disease (WLD, 1.0%), hoof wall separation (HWS, 0.6%), defect of the hoof wall (DHW, 0.5%), laminitis (0.3%), wounds (0.2%), quittor (0.1%), and inflammation of the bulb (IB, 0.0%). The lesions based on a pain and inspection test were classified as severe (SHWC, HWS, laminitis), moderate (thrush, HWS, DHW), and mild (wounds, quittor).


This study describes a variety of hoof disorders and their prevalence in horses in South Korea, which has not been reported previously. It is expected that the basic data will be used to prevent hoof disorders in horses and to develop plans for the welfare of horses in South Korea.

Keywords: Farrier, Hoof disorder, Prevalence, Racehorse and riding horse, South Korea, Musculoskeletal diseases.
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