An effective blend for all things “hoof.” Powerfully antimicrobial with support for inflammation, circulation, and repair of musculoskeletal structures. Horse to Elephant, hoof to toenail – HardyHoof is a must have for large animals.
Hoof issues can happen in all sorts of animals. Goats, cattle, horses, pigs, even elephants have hard keratinous claws, hooves, or nails – which can be prone to a wide variety of issues. Bacterial abscesses, fungal infections, inflammation of the attachments of the hoof…all are unfortunately common – but can be hard to treat traditionally.
Many traditional medications and treatments require blood supply to deliver a beneficial chemical to the area of concern. With most feet structures – there is not an abundance of circulation available naturally through the body. Joint spaces are nourished by joint fluid – not blood supply – and conditions within areas such as tendon sheaths, hoof walls, and non-vascular areas can be extremely difficult to manage when relying on the penetration of traditional medications.
Topical remedies for laminitis, thrush, bruises, hoof abscesses, and all things “hoof” abound in the equine world especially, but certainly carry over to other species. From “Sugardine” poultices to Apple Cider Vinegar – many people attempt to treat hoof issues at home or with the aid of a farrier. Sometimes these remedies work, and sometimes they do not.
If you are experiencing an issue that does not respond in a reasonable manner to home remedies, or traditional farm care (trimming sheep hooves) – it is important that you seek the consult of a qualified veterinarian. Sometimes, a diagnosis is purely not correct – and if you are attempting to treat a problem that is not the true problem at hand – you will never see results.
HardyHoof was created for our own Shetland Pony – Shadow. We acquired her when her owners were moving out of state; however, as a pony with chronic laminitis (founder) issues – a limping pony was not exactly easy to find a home for. Naturally – what better home could she have than with a veterinarian? (Well, that’s usually my excuse anyway…)
Shadow is an awesome pony – and with a few attitude adjustments and a strict diet and grazing muzzle (yeah, she did not really appreciate that) – we kept her mainly laminitis free, and comfortable.
Then, just when we thought the laminitis issue was licked, our farrier reported that Shadow had White Line Disease at one of her trims. A very small channel was created through the hoof wall, and the farrier had recommended hoof wall resection to me. Something I am not a big fan of. I have seen horrible issues when hoof is cut away from a foot, that shouldn’t be. Holistically – that is just not okay with me. So – I decided to treat her with essential oils instead – and applied a prototype blend to her hooves twice a day – dripping a couple drops right on the top surface of each hoof. It couldn’t have been easier – and I also made sure to drip into that little channel that was dug out of her hoof.
At her two week recheck trim – the farrier was amazed. She said if she did not know better, she would have thought that we transplanted different feet onto Shadow! Our farrier started to use essential oils for all sorts of hoof conditions she saw, and her results were usually astounding to both her and the owners.
As Shadow gets older and older (28 years old in 2022) – we recognize that it is a little harder to keep her comfortable. A lifetime of obesity and hoof issues – certainly makes her a touchy patient. We make sure she gets Standard Process Equine Supplements regularly, stays off lush pasture, gets plenty of love, and of course – we apply essential oils to her hooves weekly to monthly as a regular supportive and protective measure. As part of her routine essential oil support – we also apply a monthly AromaBoost RTU.
Other animals also experience hoof issues that can benefit from HardyHoof. Containing essential oils that are researched for anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties – essential oils also appear to have the ability to penetrate tissues with a variety of mechanisms, allowing them access to areas that may not be able to be reached by normal blood supply. See a research abstract HERE.
HardyHoof contains oils that we would call “hot” – and they can be irritating to delicate skin if applied topically. However to hoof material, soles, frogs, bulbs, and other tissue areas that are very “hardy” – we can apply HardyHoof to help the body to “burn out” abscesses, canker, thrush, and other issues – while increasing circulation and decreasing inflammation – all very helpful in the healing process.
Food and dairy animals can use HardyHoof without concern of medication withdrawals and residues. And, if other medications are being given, such as Bute for a horse with laminitis, we find that there is no concern with using HardyHoof topically at the same time.
Key Search Words: laminitis founder canker thrush abscess hoof frog puncture stone bruise hot nail
Any essential oil can be researched for pertinent published scientific articles by visiting www.pubmed.gov. If you are interested in seeing the properties and research being done with essential oils – I urge you to visit this site and enter in your search interest! I will link to a few articles below – but know that there are many that you can find with a search at PubMed!
Cinnamon Bark: Quite a “hot” oil – Cinnamon has strong antimicrobial properties – as research shows HERE.
Lemongrass: Also well known for strong antimicrobial properties. Research shown HERE.
Copaiba: Is highly anti-inflammatory – as research discusses HERE – and in practice tends to increase the efficacy of other essential oils when used together.
Cypress: Often used in veterinary aromatherapy for increasing circulation. Research also shows benefits.
Peppermint: Anti-inflammatory and also regarded as a “driving oil” – which helps enable other essential oils to penetrate into tissues to a deeper level. There is always interesting research with Peppermint.
Rosemary-V: Is researched for its ability to increase tissue absorption, as well as has properties related to analgesia and antimicrobial actions.
Frankincense: Always indicated for so many conditions, Frankincense is regarded for being anti-tumoral as well as magnifying the actions of other essential oils.
Helichrysum: Naturally, one of my all time favorite oils has to make an appearance. As an expensive oil – Helichrysum is often left out of blends or home recipes for animals – especially when considering applying it to a hoof! However, the addition of Helichrysum is so very important to all healing.
Instructions for Use
PrintWhile HardyHoof is a neat blend, it is not intended for diffusion.
Basically – large, hard, and “hardy” surfaces that may have inflammation, infection, or lesions have an indication for use of HardyHoof.
Birds: HardyHoof is not recommended for use with most birds. However in very large birds, such as an Ostrich – HardyHoof could be considered to be applied to a toenail issue. In select cases of severe avian bumble foot and/or osteomyelitis – HardyHoof could be considered for topical use with the aid of a well-trained veterinarian – however, there are other blends that would be used first, then HardyHoof as a secondary option.
Small Exotics: For animals such as ferrets, rabbits, gerbils, etc… HardyHoof is not recommended for use. There are limited circumstances of shell infections and abscesses on turtles and tortoises – where HardyHoof may be recommended. Use of HardyHoof in these situations should only be under the advise and supervision of a qualified veterinarian.
Cats: HardyHoof is not recommended for use with cats.
Dogs: HardyHoof is not recommended for use with dogs, except in extreme cases that respond to nothing else – and then only for toe nails, etc.
Horses & Large Animals: This blend is most appropriate for use with Horses, Cows, Goats, Pigs, Elephants, and other “larger” animals who have hooves, claws, toenails, or similar feet. HardyHoof is usually applied directly to the lesion multiple times a day. The amount of drops applied, can vary with the surface area that needs to be covered or penetrated. In most situations, it would be impossible to apply “too much” of the essential oil blend to a hoof – however, it could become an expensive and wasteful event to use too much.
For a horse with a hoof abscess, I may apply HardyHoof directly over the abscess area two to three times a day – and approximately 2-5 drops at a time, but enough to saturate the area. When Shadow (a very small poney) was experiencing a bit of laminitis or hoof discomfort – we would apply about 3-5 drops of HardyHoof to each location of the sole, frog, and bulbs of her feet twice a day – and it seems to really make her feel a ton better. In acute discomfort – certainly applications can be applied more often, and we have even applied 5-6 times a day when a condition calls for it.
With herd animals – sometimes a foot bath is used to keep hoof health in place. Foot rot and digital dermatitis, can be very detrimental to a farm – and Prevention and Control of Foot Problems in Dairy Cows gets a lot of attention. Products for cattle containing Thymol – a component of Thyme Essential Oil mainly – have been researched and shown quite effective. However, I prefer to use complete and whole essential oils, combined with the other natural constituents – and not ones that have not been “extracted” or fractionated from the plant as a whole. I believe that when we only focus on Thymol – this is when we will see resistance develop, and no longer will the product remain effective. Plants are “smart” and if only one chemical was supposed to be “created” then they would likely create only that chemical. But, they do not. We need to trust Mother Nature’s intelligence, instead of trying to outsmart her or create a “product” that is cheap or easily produced by man.
In cases of a hoof bath – it can depend on the size of your hoof bath, how much water it contains, how many animals might be walking through it, and how severe the issues of the farm are – as to how much HardyHoof I would add into the solution. Essential oils will mainly float on the surface of the bath, and as each cow or other animal walk through the water “pond” – they will get a coating of the essential oil onto the whole foot area. For each animal that you would plan to walk through the foot bath – I often plan to have about 3 drops of HardyHoof be available to coat their hoof. If the foot bath is dirty – the essential oils will be less effective.
As a starting suggestion – approximately 20 drops of HardyHoof can be added to a gallon of liquid. “Liquid” may include water with or without certain surfactants or additives. Liquid Castile Soap, Epsom Salts, Apple Cider Vinegar, and other soak recipes can be used. For some hoof conditions, soaking is not advisable, and directly dripping the essential oils onto the lesion is your best route of application. You may need to monitor for response, and increase the amount applied or frequency of application – and truly tailor your needs to the individual animal.
Essential oils should continue to be applied until your veterinarian or farrier have determined that the foot condition has resolved. This can be weeks to months for some animals – and I certainly find that a regular schedule of application seems to have a preventive aspect for our pony. If ever a condition seems to worsen, adjacent tissues seem irritated, or if a condition does not improve within a reasonable time frame – I suggest stopping the applications of essential oils, and consulting with your veterinarian.
Just How Much Essential Oil Does an Elephant Need?
It might surprise you, but not much more than a typical sized animal. We are so happy to be working with the Global Sanctuary for Elephants – a non-profit organization that will provide sanctuary to many elephants who are being retired from exploitation or rescued from less than ideal situations in South America. When I was contacted about the possibility of essential oils helping the chronic and non-healing foot issues that plague captive elephants – my heart was instantly touched – and I knew that animalEO was destined to help these special, majestic animals. Our first “elephant sized” care package arrived in Brazil in July of 2015 – and we can only anticipate the future “good” that these oils will bring.
Elephants such as Ramba – pictured below – often experience chronic issues in their feet and toenails. Many times resulting from years of housing on hard, concrete surfaces with poor hygiene, nutrition, and foot care.
Technically not a hoof, the elephant’s toenail and underlying boney structures are often damaged, inflammed, infected, and “rotten”. Having medications that are able to penetrate into the area of concern is difficult; and the dosages required for traditional medications are large – and this is where topical applications of essential oils can be so powerful. Just like any other animal – elephants will have essential oils dripped onto the lesions (like the one in the photo to the left) when possible. Some elephants may be less able to be handled, and in these circumstances water sprays, or foot baths can be utilized to have the foot and toenail contact the essential oils.
animalEO and Crow River Animal Hospital will continue to donate essential oils to the elephants of Global Sanctuary and assist them in their exploration of holistic treatments for all elephant ailments – physical and emotional – and we are SO happy to help in any way we can!
As part of animalEO’s continued desire to help the elephants of Global Sanctuary for Elephants – we will be raising funds to purchase bulk “Oils for Elephants.” Even though the elephants do not need “more oil” than a typical horse, they do have enormous feet! It will be important that their foot lesions are able to be coated with essential oils once or twice a day – and since even the lesion in one toenail of an elephant may equal the size of a pony hoof – that may mean A LOT of essential oil will be used while treating 4 giant feet, of multiple giant animals!
My pledge is to donate all of my time and expertise to sourcing, blending, and creating items that will help the elephants – and allow any additional donations to go purely toward the purchase of the bulk oils I will use and supply to the elephant sanctuary – with no mark up in price what-so-ever.
If you are so inclined – you can donate towards the bulk essential oil purchase and contribution to the elephants – by clicking on the “Donate” link below. Although these contributions may be tax deductible for you as an individual (please check with your accountant) – we are not able to provide additional receipts or certificates for your donation. If a tax deduction is important to you – we encourage you to donate directly to Global Sanctuary for Elephants.
*DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not to replace proper medical care and guidance. The statements have not been evaluated by the FDA - and any recommendation is not intended to cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent a disease or condition. Please work with your veterinarian with any health concern.