How to treat a horse's bruised feet

foot image by Henryk Olszewski from

In horses, a bruised foot can result from stepping on a hard object like a stone. Bruises appear reddish purple on pale colour hooves and on dark hooves, dark grey. Horses with bruised hooves or soles appear lame; they exhibit a painful reaction when pressure is put on the hoof.

Treating a bruised foot depends on the severity of the injury. In some cases, when the bruise turns into an infection or an abscess, the horse will require treatment from a veterinarian.

Rest the horse. According to Pet Place, rest is the best way to allow the horse to heal. Keep the horse on a soft surface.

Give the horse Bute, or phenylbutazone, which is an anti-inflammatory, nonsteroid drug, according to the website A veterinarian needs to prescribe the drug, which reduces pain and swelling while restoring function.

Soak the horse's hoof in an Epsom salt solution. Gregory Fowler, D.V.M suggests soaking two to three times a day for three to four days.

Apply an ice pack. PetMD suggests an ice pack for minor bruises.

Instruct your farrier to apply a temporary pad underneath the shoe for extra cushion and protection, which will reduce the pressure on the horse's hoof. John Sligh, a farrier out of Ocala, Florida uses foot felt adhered to the sole with turpentine.

Talk to your farrier about the amount of sole trimmed off the horse. If too much is trimmed, the horse is more susceptible to bruising.