A copper-plated horseshoe nail designed to improve hoof health been released.

The Kerckhaert Liberty Cu nail is coated with antimicrobial copper, which kills microbes such as bacteria and fungi. The coating helps prevent these from entering the foot when the farrier hammers in a nail.

A spokesman from Strömsholm, Kerckhaert’s UK distributor, said farriers are starting to notice a “massive” improvement in the condition of some horses’ hooves after using the nails.

“The copper-coated product is just as strong as the original nails, but has added benefits,” he told H&H.

Martin Kerckhaert, of Kerckhaert, said that it took the company some time to find the right combination.

“We started testing with nails made entirely out of copper, but these turned out to be too soft,” he said.

He added that they had to find a balance between creating a coating that was not so thick it would impair the nail itself, nor so thin that it would rub off too quickly.

Farrier Nigel Brown was involved in the trial of the new nails and has been using them since October.

“Despite regular shoeing appointments [one of my client’s horse’s] feet are prone to flaking and brittleness, with tainting of the hoof wall from the nails,” he said.

“At the second shoeing there was a decrease in black marking and in the walls and white line underneath — the hoof wall appears stronger.

“At the third shoeing, in mid-January, there was further improvement, and the difference in the Liberty Cu nail holes compared to previous nails is obvious.”


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H&H vet Karen Coumbe thinks it is an interesting concept.

“There appears to be some evidence for the antimicrobial effects of copper, and a growing interest in the light of antibiotic resistance — I think it needs looking at more closely,” she said.

“Certainly pus in the foot is such a problem with the current wet weather, that anything that might help in any way has to be good, plus anything which minimises the use of antibiotics would also be useful.”

Ref: H&H 10 March, 2016