Hock Shields. Why? When? How?

Hock Shields. Why? When? How?

by Amy Pierce

Hock Shields 

Did you know…August is prime season for hock sores, also known as pressure ulcers and pressure sores, or bed sores ? Hock sores are irritated areas on your horse’s hocks where the hair has been rubbed off, and often where the skin has been rubbed open.Hock sores can be caused by poor bedding, consistent rubbing against the stall wall, lying down for too long or even by an altercation with a fellow horse/stall mate. 

This results in a painful wound and sometimes is even accompanied by swelling. Using a hock shield along with some other methods can prevent and even heal those painful hock sores.

Hock sores can sometimes be difficult to treat and prevent. If left untreated or if the sore does not respond to treatment attempts, it may worsen further. The sore can become larger in size and develop and infection or an ulcer. This can lead to more serious health issues such as lameness. Taking proactive steps is key and easy to implement.

Treating Hock Issues

Treating a hock sore can be a bit challenging. When your horse is lying down, their hock will always be touching the ground. It is also located on a joint that’s awkward to bandage or wrap, and it will move and flex with every step. 

Before you begin treating your horse's hock sores, especially if your horse has never had this issue before or if the wounds are reoccurring, try to figure out what might be causing them. For example, have you made any changes to your horse's bedding? Does your horse have dry skin? Does your horse have sore joints or hoof issues that are causing discomfort and leading them to lie down more often? 

There is a chance that hock sores could just be a side effect of something else going on with your horse's health, so it's essential to consider their environment and overall health before you begin any kind of treatment. 

Once you've narrowed down the potential causes, there are a few different ways to help heal hock sores in horses. 

1. Check Stall Bedding

Because stall bedding is often the culprit behind hock sores, taking a look at your current stall setup is a good place to start. If your bedding is too thin or abrasive, your horse is most likely rubbing on it when sleeping or getting up. If you notice any flatter areas in the stall, that's probably where your horse prefers to lay down. Adding some thicker bedding there or trying a new type of bedding can help cushion and protect your horse's hocks.

2. Try a Salve

If the wound is large or open, you can apply some cream or salve to help it heal.  It is important to remember to clean the sore thoroughly before applying such ointments.

3. Apply a Wrap and Hock Shield

When using a hock shield as part of the healing process for a sore, it is a good idea to wrap the sore in bandaging first. The bandaging and hock shield work well together to keep the sore from becoming even more irritated. This method speeds up the healing process and reduces the need to add bedding or change your horse’s routine, and most importantly, it eliminates the archaic method of wrapping duct tape over the hocks. 

When Should You Use Hock Shields?

Hock shields can be left on 24/7. They are designed to be worn when your horse is stalled, or kept in pipe corrals,  rather than when they are turned out or in the pasture. 

How Hock Shields Help the Horse 

Hock shields add a thick layer of protection on your horse's hocks. Because they come in different sizes and have adjustable straps, you can find the perfect fit for your horse. The shields will stay in place and not fall off when your horse moves around or sleeps in a stall, allowing them to have full mobility.

Because hock sores have the potential to become infected, hock shields offer both protection and help decrease the possibility of swelling or lameness.

Prevent Sores With Hock Shields From Horse Tack Co.

With hock sore season wrapping up, it’s time to wrap up your horse's hocks as well. A properly fitted hock shield will make a huge difference in both the prevention and treatment of a hock sore.

At Horse Tack Co., we carry hock shields in a variety of sizes ranging from average horse to draft. In addition to the standard hock shield, you'll also be able to choose from our knee and hock shield, which offers full coverage for the knee joint, or our ultra version, which offers full-wrap coverage.

We offer competitive prices and fast order processing, and orders over $75 qualify for a low flat-rate shipping fee. If you have any questions about which hock shield would work the best for your horse, give our customer service team a call at 866-624-8225 or contact us online. We'll help you narrow down your options and find what you need to keep your horse happy and healthy.       

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