Equimed.com - Full Article
Submitted by Deb M. Eldredge, DVM on Fri, 06/14/2013
Almost every barn has dogs around. They may be "mascots" of the boarding barn, farm dogs, or dogs who come by when their owners stop to ride their horses. For many dogs, a high point in their day at the barn is being able to snag some hoof trimmings after a visit by the farrier.
Are hoof trimmings safe for your dog or dangerous? In truth, both answers are possible.
Horse hoof walls are made of special skin or epithelial cells that are keratinized. Keratin is a main component of hair, horns, and antlers, as well as hooves in cows, horses, etc. Theoretically, keratinized structures are digestible, though many a cat owner who has cleaned up hairballs would argue that!
When freshly cut, hoof trimmings and hoof shavings are flexible and somewhat soft. As the tissue dries, it becomes very hard and stiff, however. It is the drier, harder hoof trimmings that can present the most trouble...
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