Consider using wedge-shaped hoof blocks

By Steve Mason on

Hoof blocks, fixed under one claw to allow the other claw to recover from corrective trimming, are used to reduce pain during the healing process. A German trial compared the use of uniform thickness wood and flexible synthetic hoof blocks with wedge-shaped blocks of the same materials. Block dimensions were as follows:

  • uniform thickness wood block: 130 mm long, 22-23 mm thick;
  • uniform thickness flexible block (Walkease): 120 mm long, 20 mm thick;
  • wedge-shaped wood block: 130 mm long, 23 mm thick at heel, 15 mm thick at toe;
  • wedge-shaped flexible block (Wedgie): 120 mm long, 20 mm thick at heel, 15 mm thick at toe.
Wedge-shaped wood (a) and flexible (b) hoof blocks.

Wedge-shaped wood (a) and flexible (b) hoof blocks.

The wood blocks were fixed with a fast-setting adhesive (Technovit-2-Bond, Heraeus-Kulzer GmbH, Wehrheim, Germany). The flexible blocks, made of a specially-formulated ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) of 70 Shore-A hardness, were fixed with a specially-formulated “Super Glue-type“ cyanoacrylate adhesive (Walkease, Shoof International Ltd, Cambridge, New Zealand).

Compared to the uniform thickness blocks, the wedge blocks allowed better locomotion. The flexible blocks are a good alternative to wood blocks and can heighten the claw for 10 to 20 days. These blocks give the best support within the first ten days, falling off after 7 to 20 days so it is not necessary for the farmer to remove them himself. Wood blocks have to be removed after three weeks – there is no further improvement during this extended time and problems can arise due to their loss of shape and structure.

Hoof Block Retention

DayUniform Thickness Wood BlockWedge-Shaped Wood BlockUniform Thickness Flexible BlockWedge-Shaped Flexible Block
Number of blocks applied (day 0) and retained (days 10, 20, 44)

source: J Maierl, A Fiedler, D Döpfer, J Haas, R Höfler, H Kellhuber, M Moosbauer, H Warmedinger; 17th International Symposium and 9th International Conference on Lameness in Ruminants; Bristol, UK; Aug 11-14, 2013; page 144.

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