Keratex Hoof Hardener strengthens weak, worn, and cracked hooves by improving the molecular structure of the horn itself. Equally effective in wet and dry conditions, it prevents the horn from taking in excess moisture, making it resistant to softening and weakening in wet conditions. This results in a reduction in shoe loss and abscesses. It is not an oil or a resin layer and does not seal the hoof; it will ensure the treated hoof is able to breathe naturally. Moisture balance is properly maintained. It should also be applied to the sole of the hoof to prevent bruising.
Hoof Hardener is a gentle-acting chemical formulation that forms additional intermolecular bonds between molecules of keratin through the process of cross-linking. Keratin is the main protein constituent of horn and is best described as the building block of the horn structure. The cross-linking process results in additional atoms being distributed between the keratin molecules to produce a tougher and stronger horn structure.
Many other products claim to strengthen the hoof, but usually this entails a superficial layer of resin or varnish. Hoof Hardener works by actually improving the structure of the horn itself. Since it is neither a varnish or resin layer, it leaves no visible coating. Therefore, the treated hoof is able to breathe and function naturally. With the active formulation of Hoof Hardener, the quality of existing horn can be improved chemically within just a few days. Obviously, cracks will not disappear, but the horn around them will be strengthened to resist further movement so they can grow out. Once treated, the horn will also be better able to support nails so shoes stay on better. Because of its hardening and strengthening effects, it is superb for use on shod and unshod horses.
User Notes: Sold in 250ml plastic bottles. Includes separate hoof brush for application.
Apply to lower half of hoof and sole, avoiding coronary band and frog.
Use daily for one week then twice weekly for general hoof maintenance.
If the hoof has been treated with any oils or greases over the past three months, degrease the hoof thoroughly with acetone before applying this product. Do not use any oils or greases while using this product.
Helpful hint: Pour from the bottle into the cap and work out of it to avoid getting dirt back in the bottle or spilling it.Selected by the Horse-Journal as "Editor's Choice" and "2010 Product of the Year"
A little more on the technical side:
Although the unique formula for Keratex Hoof Hardener is protected under patent laws, the following information is provided to help explain why this product is materially different from all other products and why it has earned unparalleled worldwide success with farriers, veterinarians, and horse enthusiasts for more than a decade.
Farriers have used formalin for many years to harden horses' hooves. The action of formaldehyde on keratin is well known to be a simple cross-linking action. Methylene or bis-thioether groups are added by condensation reactions with reactive amino, sulphydryl or other groups on the keratin helix to form additional linkages to reinforce the rather labile disulphide links which occur naturally. It is quite incorrect to say that formalin hardens horn by removing water. Rather, it strengthens it by introducing these extra inter and intra-molecular links.
However, formaldehyde in its simple aldehyde state reacts too quickly. It case-hardens the hoof, thus preventing the entry of formalin to deeper layers, and also creating surface brittleness. It also contains another substance which effectively slows down the reactivity of the -CHO group, thus giving time for the aldehyde to penetrate the outer layers of horn. This is facilitated by the presence of yet another compound in Hoof Hardener which temporarily modifies the hydrogen bonds which join the helix coils internally and externally. Having done this, the compound then evaporates, leaving the hydrogen bonds to re-make once the aldehyde is in place.
Keratex Hoof Hardener also contains an inorganic complexing agent. One end of the molecule of this agent co-ordinates onto a nitrogen atom in the keratin molecule. The other end modifies the keratin helix, thus effectively adding an aggregate to stiffen the horn. This process resembles the consolidating effect of the melanin in hoof horn. The melanin also acts as an aggregate and confers extra strength.
Finally, it contains a plasticiser to stop the horn from becoming brittle, and it also contains a powerful disinfectant to assist in maintaining general hoof health.