Hoof Armor Research History
Hoof Armor research began in 1999 with the idea to make an adhesive which could be used as a horseshoe replacement on a horse which would not hold steel nailed-on shoes. Rather than gluing on shoes which could fall off, I thought an adhesive coating that could not fall off would solve my problem. My requirements were: tougher than a hoof, more flexible than a hoof, quick cure, durable enough to last 100 miles. And, it had to be able to stick to a hoof…not an easy requirement.
I got samples of all the different types of adhesives: acrylic, urethane, epoxy and hide glue. Three years later I decided on an epoxy coating (not glue) because of its toughness, flexibility and ability to adhere to a hoof that expands and contracts. My research then showed that epoxy was the least toxic of the viable adhesives (hide glue did not meet the durable requirement). Later, working with Lehigh University on my formula it was recommended that for a quicker cure I could use an infrared curing agent. This would cure in seconds, but was very toxic, so…no.
My initial intention was to create an alternative for a horseshoe, protecting the bottom of the hoof wall. Very soon I realized that it was the sole that really needed protection because that is the area that gets stone bruised. Eventually, through trials, Hoof Armor became used on all parts of the hoof, still primarily for abrasion prevention: sole, frog, hoof wall and heel bulbs.
In 2006, a Hoof Armor distributor applied Hoof Armor to a last-chance case of White Line Disease. Two applications of trimming and “slathering” Hoof Armor on the affected areas over a period of two months cured the hoof infection as shown in my Hoof Armor and White Line Youtube video. At the time I wasn’t sure why that worked.
In 2007 I was forced to revise my formula due to the epoxy manufacturer discontinuing the resin I had been using. Fortunately, this led to several improvements that are in the existing formula. First, with the new formula, the ratio was improved from a 1:1 to a 4:1 which resulted in a more complete match of resin/curing agent…less waste and a better cure. Second, the new curing agent is approved by the FDA for use in contact with food and is much safer. The resin is also approved. This is chemically similar to the linings in most food cans. Third, I added a cure accelerator which greatly reduces the time needed for Hoof Armor to cure…faster than the manufacturer’s specs which call for a 24-hour cure. Mine cures in about 6 hours depending on ambient temperature. Unknown at the time, this added a very important ingredient that makes Hoof Armor much more effective in hoof care.
The cure accelerator in Hoof Armor is Hydroxy Acid. This is an ingredient made from non-GMO plants and commonly used in cosmetics, skin care and actually an ingredient in other foods. I figured that it was the safest possible cure accelerators available. What I didn’t know and what subsequent research showed is that Hydroxy Acid is also an effective antimicrobial agent, the extent of these capabilities of are still not known. Here is some of that research:
“Chenjie Wang, Tong Chang, Hong Yang, Min Cui, Antibacterial mechanism of hydroxy acid on physiological and morphological properties of Salmonella Enteritidis, Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes, Food Control, Volume 47, January 2015, Pages 231-236, ISSN 0956-7135, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodcont.2014.06.034. Abstract: Hydroxy acid is widely used to inhibit the growth of important microbial pathogens, but its antibacterial mechanism is not yet fully understood. The objective of this study was to investigate the antibacterial mechanism of hydroxy acid on Salmonella Enteritidis, Escherichia coli and Listeria monocytogenes by size measurement, TEM, and SDS-PAGE analysis. The results indicated that 0.5% hydroxy acid could completely inhibit the growth of Salmonella Enteritidis, E. coli and L. monocytogenes cells. Meanwhile, hydroxy acid resulted in leakage of proteins of Salmonella, E. coli and Listeria cells, and the amount of leakage after 6 h exposure were up to 11.36, 11.76 and 16.29 μg/mL, respectively. Measurements of the release of proteins and SDS-PAGE confirmed the disruptive action of hydroxy acid on cytoplasmic membrane, as well as the content and activity of bacterial proteins. The Z-Average sizes of three pathogens were changed to smaller after hydroxy acid treatment. The damaged membrane structure and intracellular structure induced by hydroxy acid could be observed from TEM images. The results suggested that the antimicrobial effect was probably caused by physiological and morphological changes in bacterial cells.”
Further research into the Hydroxy Acid effects, particularly where they pertain to hoof care is found in the skin care industry. Besides protecting a hoof from adverse elemental effects and abrasion, research found that:
“An early study reported 4 weeks of treatment of 12% hydroxy acid resulted in a 19% increase in epidermal thickness and increased amounts of glycosaminoglycans and collagen in the dermis.Other colleagues comparing 25% hydroxy acid treatment for 6 months reported a 25% improvement in skin thickness, and significant dermal changes with increased mucopolysaccharides, collagen density, and elastin quality.” – Ditre CM, Griffin TD, Murphy GF, Sueki H, Telegan B, Johnson WC, et al. Effects of alpha-hydroxy acids on photoaged skin: a pilot clinical.
“The FDA has established that Hydroxy Acids are safe in cosmetic products at concentrations of 10% or less. These can be used daily and tolerated by most except very sensitive skin types.” – J.K. Rivers, MD. Cosmeceuticals in Antiaging Therapy. Skin Therapy Letters Vol 13 (8), Nov/Dec 2008, pg 6-9.
The addition of Hydroxy Acid in Hoof Armor is kept to FDA safe levels. My intention is to provide a safe product for treatment and prevention of hoof problems from both environmental and infectious damage. Hoof Armor is now in its sixth formula improvement and when a better formula can be found it will be tested and introduced.
Hoof Armor® Patents
#6,231,972 & #9,861,089