What is Equine Canker?

Horse hooves

Causes of Canker 

Canker often results from a large variety of issues; the issues can result in pain for your horse. Different issues can include Viral-- Bovine Papilloma Virus, Bacterial-- aerobes or anaerobes, including Treponema Spirochete, Proliferative abnormal tissue-- proud flesh/hyperkeratosis, or hyperplastic tissue, Fungal elements and Nematode (worms) are probable. These issues can build up to create the disease, with the percent of each trigger different in each case. 

Even if your barn is well managed, all of these causes can still occur and affect your horse. Treponema and Peloda worms in the soil are worldwide. Bovine papillomavirus is widespread. Bedding in straw increases infection due to organic matter in direct contact with dirt. Straw also absorbs urine less, so more moisture allows for increased bacterial counts. Some horses are more prone due to a genetic component. Drafts can occur when weight pushes dirt into the hoof crevices. Frog/sole wounds are more prone when the hoof is large; this allows dirt in more often.

The top reason veterinarian Dr. Reilly has seen is due to inadequate hoof trimming schedules. When horses should be getting trimmed on a 4-6 week cycle, those that receive trimming on 8,12, or 16-week cycles are more likely to develop canker. The hoof walls are overly long creating a large space for dirt, manure, or urine to pack into. This is especially seen in draft horses, as owners mistakenly think they need to be trimmed less. 


Sealing horse hoof

What to Look For: Early Signs of Canker

Canker can often be confused with Thrush disease. Both have bad odors, can improve with dry bedding or dry turnout areas, and can improve with picking out feet regularly. However, canker is not a common disease, unlike thrush. While the two may be similar, you should take canker very seriously as the tissue proliferates in large amounts of proud flesh or even tentacles of abnormal tissue, which takes 3-4 weeks to heal.

All ages, sexes, and breeds can be affected by canker, but draft/draft crosses seem to have a higher rate. Canker may affect anywhere from one hoove to all four hooves. In drafts, it is usually more common in the hind feet. 

Early signs include a very bad odor, exudate that is white or yellow that looks similar to melting cheese, and proud flesh or abnormal tissue that looks like cauliflower. In more advanced cases, tentacles of abnormal tissue like an octopus may develop. Be on the lookout if the tissue bleeds very easily when cleaning out the feet; cleaning out the feet regularly does not cure the problem. You may also notice blood on concrete floors due to canker dripping blood. Your horse may develop mild advances to profound lameness where they begin to lean against: posts, straw bales, keep feet up, hop, or toe walk. 


Examining horse hoof

Preventing Canker 

To help prevent canker from developing, regularly scheduled hoof trims should take place every 4-6 weeks throughout the year. 

For your horse’s bedding, use shavings to dry out feet better than straw. Straw has organic dust which includes bacteria/mold and absorbs urine less, so the feet are exposed to water more. Pelodera larvae live in rotting organic debris like wet straw. 

Make sure you take the time to pick feet out daily and inspect your horse’s hooves. Apply antiseptic to soles of all four hooves 2 times a week for life. 

Family lines of an individual horse with canker need to be inspected daily even more. If a canker horse has a brother on the program, keep a sharp eye on them. 

Regular deworming programs reduce the nematode aspect of canker.

Understand that the hooves/soles are extensions of the skin, so help that barrier be its best. Our product  Health-E will get your horse the right amount of Vitamin E to help protect them from developing canker. This is the strongest Vitamin E in the USA: 1 scoop a day = 5,800 IU of Vitamin E. It has all eight forms of alpha-tocopherol and is ester stable so it is good for 2 years in heat/light/air. Vitamin E is the #1 antioxidant of the epidermal tissue making up frog/sole. Vitamin E keeps the immune system in peak shape in studies. Vitamin E is an immune stimulant; start adding it to the diet and it will also help in reducing stomach ulcers.


Horse grazing

Treating Canker with Equine Canker Powder 

Equine Canker Powder is part of a four-step program to help improve your horse’s discomfort and clear canker. Get your horse’s hooves healthy again! Equine Canker Powder guarantees improvement in 14-21 days, reduces lameness, is easy to use, and stops foul odors. This treatment is used at the University of Wisconsin School of Veterinary Medicine/Colorado State University of Veterinary Medicine and featured in a presentation at the International Hoof-Care Summit and in the American Farriers Journal. 

Equine Powder has a proprietary blend of desiccants, antibacterials, antifungals, vitamins, herbs, and anti-inflammatory agents:

  • MSM: Anti-inflammatory, reduces cox2, TNF, increases immune response
  • Matricaria: Antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory.
  • Magnesia desiccant: helps in desiccation, reducing moisture
  • Metronidazole: antibiotic indicated against certain anaerobic infection
  • Ketoconazole: found to be highly effective against 40 isolates of fungus.
  • SMZ/TP
  • Vitamin E: number one antioxidant of skin/epidermis

The one-gallon bucket is enough to treat two feet for four weeks to clear horse canker.

Equine Canker Powder

Equine Medical is Here to Help

This canker powder is one of the most effective treatments on the market. Once the canker is stopped your horse will gain quality muscle and the hair coat improves dramatically. Why? Pain in all animals melts off weight; they worry so they eat less while the pain increases cortisol which breaks down muscle, leading to weight loss. As less sore on canker powder, they begin to bloom! 

Dr. Reilly is here to work with you, and your vet to help get your horse back to normal! In order to purchase this product, Dr. Reilly will have a consultation with the customer’s vet who will prescribe this product, and then it will be sold. This process ensures that you are getting the best for your horse. 

A previous customer Joanna described Equine Canker Powder as a miracle product:

“In two weeks following his protocol, we are having success with treatment. Thank You Dr. Reilly for this amazing product. So far it’s been two weeks of treatment and I would say my boy is 75% better. What I love about this whole experience Is the detailed protocol and the coordinated treatment efforts with my vet. Dr Reilly pretty much held my hand through the whole process. Amazing product amazing Vet.”

To learn more about this product and see what others are saying, visit our website