I have an 8 year old thoroughbred who has suddenly come up with some kind of infection all the way around the top of the hoof. It smells like rot, and is tender to the touch, but does not cause lameness. She favors the foot when standing, but when walking or moving shows very few signs of any problem. The hoof is getting terrible rings, and the skin in open and yellowish. Any advice on home remedies?
You don't need a home remedy, SLD; you need a consultation with a veterinarian and a referral to an expert farrier. What you describe is called 'quittor', and the reason that it smells foul is that the material oozing out over the top of the hoof capsule represents an extensive infection deep within the hoof capsule which is merely finding its exit, due to pressure, through the coronary band. Infection may be due to any number of things -- quicking from a badly-placed shoe nail, a puncture wound, abscesses, and white line disease come immediately to mind.
That the horse is not greatly lame at the moment should not be a reason NOT to call the veterinarian. This is a red alert medical situation not only because the horse may get much more lame soon, and you would not want to leave him in misery; but also because whatever infection it is can lead to blood poisoning and the death of the animal. So you are to go and make your appointment immediately.
By the way, if you'd like to be of material assistance to others who read here -- for many of them will not have seen quittor before -- as well as being helpful to me (I always have a need for photos of pathological hoofs and hoof conditions) -- if you could take a few nice, in-focus photos of the horse before treatment, and post them here, it would be wonderful. To do this you will have to register for the Forum and not just come in as a guest -- the way our software works, guests can neither see nor post graphics. Thank you very much for considering this. -- Dr. Deb