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Quarter Cracks written by James Findler & Marie Leginus

 Definition: A vertical crack in the hoof wall that is parallel to the hoof tubules, originating at the coronary band. 

 Anatomy: The structures involved are the hoof wall, the coronary band and the laminae in the affected area.

 Clinical Signs: - The horse may or may not be lame, it will depend on the severity of the crack. Early signs that a horse may develop a quarter crack may show the hoof wall shoved upwards in the affected area, and/or a hairline crack that is minimal.

-More severe quarter cracks will have a distinct crack line in the coronet, and may be bleeding as sensitive tissues are involved.

 Causes: -There are two types of forces that act upon the hoof as its being loaded, and when it is loaded; the ground reaction force, and the horse’s gravitational force upon the hoof and limb. If these forces aren’t distributed evenly, due to conformation or improper trimming, there will be negative effects, and possibly quarter cracks.

-Conformation is an important factor, as a lot of horses have deviations within the hoof and limb. Horses that are base narrow, toed in, or have angular limb deformities would be more prone to quarter cracks as they have uneven stress placed upon their hooves.

-Imbalanced hooves can be a problem as well, due to uneven loading and stress. A horse left consistently high on one side, or one area will have excess pressure and upward forces and eventually the strength of the hoof in the affected area will break down.

-Injury or trauma to the hoof capsule and coronary band that is deep enough to damage the sensitive structures making up the hoof wall will affect regular hoof growth.

 Treatment:

-There are different ways to treat quarter cracks, some may work for certain horses, while others may not.

- Determine the cause of the quarter crack; is it conformation related, trimming related, or is there an old injury in the area.

- Unloading the affected area is important and making sure the hoof is properly balanced.

- Stabilizing the hoof c