We received an email from an equestrian participant, Reija, who inspired this post.

“…I remember my Grandfather digging in clayish spots on the seashore. He brought several buckets back to the farm where he’d spread it around the pens where the animals walked. He kept a bucket on hand and would paint the cows’ feet with it if they had a problem. I saw him do it to an old sow once too.  When I heard about clay being used for horse hoof problems I decided to order it for my mare that is prone to stall rot.  Her hooves were improving in 48 hours flat and they’re just about perfect now.  Thanks to you & grandpa for this simple idea!”

Natural Treatment of Hoof Ailments in Horses and LivestockIt didn’t take a lab or scientific studies for people to learn how to heal many hoof ailments naturally.  Animals taught us by instinctively seeking out clay mud, where they self-medicated until cured.  When scientists did get around to testing the applications of healing bentonite clay, it was proven time and time again to possess anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties.  Numerous studies have also proven Calcium Montmorillonite Clay effectively renders toxins harmless (including mycotoxins) while also fueling immune response.

Pure Calcium Montmorillonite Clay has been used with great success on a wide range of hoof ailments, either in cooperation with traditional medical treatment or on its own.  Positive results have been seen in the treatment of Hoof & Mouth Disease, Gangrene, Thrush, Laminitis, White Line Disease (Stall Rot), hoof abscesses, cracked hooves and hoof injuries.

Expert Raymond Dextreit noted, “Domestic and farm animals can be treated with clay.  The method of treatment is the same as for human patients, the only difficulty being in the docility of the animal in accepting the treatment.  Farm animals can be persuaded to dip themselves into a mud bath prepared by digging a large enough hole filed with clay and water.  Cows have been cured of foot-and-mouth disease (apthous fever) with applications on the feet and daubs in the mouth.  In certain countries, seriously ill animals are saved by daubing them completely with a mixture of clay and vinegar.  Good results are also obtained by replacing vinegar with very salted water (sea salt).

The French Army used it recently for veterinary purposes – when horses were afflicted with hoof gangrene, they were put in a stable, the floor of which had been dug up and kept wet so that the horses could kick in the mud.  The animals went instinctively to the clay-mud where they found a remedy for their disease.

For internal use, clay is also effective.  It can be added to the drinking water (4 soup spoons per quart of unboiled water) and even mixed with food.  It can be used in the fur – particularly for cats, who constantly lick their fur, thus absorbing it easily.”

Calcium Montmorillonite clay can be used therapeutically for horses and other livestock as well.  It can be dusted over animal feed, mixed into homemade salt blocks, or be added to the water periodically.  It can also be spread in the stall or even outside in favorite standing spots.


You can either provide a shallow pit of wet clay for the animal to walk in, or make a paste of clay and water and apply directly to the affected area after cleaning.  If applying to the bottom of the hoof, you can use a hair dryer on a cool setting to dry if the animal will tolerate it.  Repeat at least daily until the condition has been rectified.

NOTE OF CAUTION:  It’s important to receive a positive diagnosis from your vet before treatment.  If you are also treating with medication, do not mix calcium montmorillonite clay with external applications or feed the animal calcium montmorillonite clay for 2-3 hours before or after the medication is administered.  Clay does not differentiate between good toxins (medication) and bad toxins, and may therefore reduce the effectiveness of medication.  To ensure full effectiveness, only use certified pure, edible grade Calcium Montmorillonite Clay.

Thanks for contacting us, Reija, your Grandpa is a very wise man for recognizing this natural cure long before the Internet.

??? Have you used natural treatments on hooves?  Please share your experience in the comments below.


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6 thoughts on “Natural Treatment of Hoof Ailments in Horses and Livestock

  1. That procedure used to be very common back in the day. A lot of what we learned back then came from necessity because no farmer had a lot of money. Now it’s spread around like the latest thing in medical miracles.

  2. I agree, this is a great article.A successful blog needs unique, useful content that interests the readers

  3. Yup! Clay is expecially good for bare feet horses (don’t use shoes). It keeps the feet conditioned but doesn’t soften them too much like ointments.

  4. Now that you mention it I remember my grandfather coating hooves with something too…..I wonder if it was clay? He’s gone now bless his soul but maybe my mom remembers. Thanks for the memory!

  5. I’ve heard a lot of stories about wild animals using clay and always wanted to try it on our farm. Seems it’s time. Thanks fr the science.

  6. One spot on our property has clay soil and the horses always stomp around in it when it rains. I guess they know what’s best for them.

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