Laminitis Season is here: Duct Tape Booties and Quick and Easy to Fit Ice Packs!

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013 | Filed under Handy Tips

It is the season.  Grass, grass, grass…

In case any of you are suffering laminitis with your horse (hope not), these little dittys should come in handy.

I have the ice packs in my freezer – ready.  I also have a duct tape bootie (flat) taped to a wall in the tack room – just in case.    Because when I’m stressed, I don’t make them well…


The below duct tape booties and ice pack wraps are gems during laminitis season.

You may already know these tricks… but I didn’t, so maybe there are some of you out there who make lousy booties and never have the correct size ice pack when you need it – just like me!


When wrapping hooves, I tended to use duct tape as a wrapping tape.  First you put on the vet wrap and then you follow those same circular motions when adding the duct tape over the top.

And, if you are like me, you will have leakage, the booties deteriorate quickly and you find shavings INSIDE when you thought the booties were sealed tight.

Well, never fear.  I have watched a Master duct-tape-bootie maker at work — My vet, Dr. Mario.


It all started because we were wrapping Norma’s feet the other day.  In preparation, I had made a duct tape bootie according to how I thought Dr. Mario made them.  Feeling smug, I handed him my creation.

He looked at it, eyeing it curiously.  After about two ‘monkey with an odd object’ perplexed looks, he walked into the tack room and started to make his own.

I decided to not be hurt and instead to study what he was doing…  I made mental notes of his commentary as he whipped out a new bootie.

MY VERSION FOR YOU… Please know that I made the booties in these photos, not Mario.

I wasn’t quick enough to get my camera while he was in genius mode.  So, I’m recreating this from my mental notes.

1)  Don’t try to make the bootie with the sticky side up.  Place it sticky side down onto a surface — any surface.  (He said he does this on his truck or bumper often.)  Figure you need a square about double the hoof size on all four sides.   Lay out your strips vertically.  If you need a really strong bootie, you can also add strips horizontally at this phase.

Start with vertical strips, sticky side down

2)  Put on diagonal strips

Apply diagonal strips in the shape of an “X”

3)  Make a frame – all four sides.

Make a frame – strips on all four sides

4)  Cut the sides so they are even

Trim all the edges so it is even

5)  Snip diagonally on all four corners  (this give you your overlap tabs)

Snip each corner diagonally to create tabs

6)  Voila!  You can apply this on the sole,  then paste the sides and then the front and back – or do it anyway you want.  Since the corners are cut, you will be able to overlap it any way that is easiest for you.  It goes on fast and easy!  You can do it with the hoof up, or if the horse is really sore, just pick the hoof up long enough to cover the sole and then let him put his foot down while you adhere all four sides.

When the booties is pre-made, it is quicker to apply to a finiky or sore horse.  This is Norma’s foot.  She was not cooperative yet it still went on.

7)  Add a strip of duct tape around the top to secure all the tabs – or not.  That’s it!  The booties pictured below on Norma were 4 days old!

Here are the booties a few days later… still going strong!


This is so easy, I laughed when I saw Mario do this.

Basically, all you have to remember is to get some surgical LOOOOOONG gloves (or save bread loaf bags – those work, too).  The kind vets use for rectal exams.  Keep those in your trailer or in your barn or your tack box.  If you have any way to freeze something, you are golden.

I keep some of these ice packs pre-made in my freezer.  So if anyone is hurt while at home, I can run and get a pre-made frozen ice-pack!

ICE PACK sized for a hoof.

These are great when you need to ice a hoof or hose it down with cold water.  You can just apply one or two of these and walk away!

1)  Take one surgical glove and tie off the hand part with the fingers.

Can you see what I’ve done? I tied off the hand part.  (You can use bread loaf bags, too…)

2)  Open the other end and add a bit of water.  You only want to add enough to make an oblong ball.  Tie that ball of water off loosely.  Allow the water to slosh a bit so it isn’t tight.  Make sure your tie-off knot is long.  Or, make a few knots.  You want some space between ice packs.

The left side is correct. You want the water loose so it forms in an oblong shape. The right side is wrong. A ball shape doesn’t work well.

3)  Make sure to add a few knots in the middle so that you have space between ice packs.  If they are too close together, they won’t wrap around the ankle well.

4)  Make the shapes only as large as you need.  Too big and it won’t wrap well.  Practice a few times to get the hang of it.

5)  Put this in the freezer

6)  After it freezes, you have two ice packs tied together and all you have to do is wrap it around the area and tie it off!

Cheap, Modifiable and Easy!

It works on Hubby’s sore ankle, too!!

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6 comments have been posted...

  1. Robynne Catheron

    Great idea to have both the bootie and the ice pack made in advance and at the ready! I wonder if putting a little rubbing alcohol in with the water would keep the ice pack pliable, so it would wrap easier, stay in place longer, and hurt less when applied? Also, I haven’t had a case of laminitis with any of my six since we switched to The Natural Vet’s “Feed for Success” plan almost four years ago. I honestly think their stronger immune system prevents a lot of problems. Just my humble opinion, of course :)

  2. Shelley S

    Love the bootie pre-made! Excellent idea.
    An addition to the ice pack… to keep the ice “flexible, like those blue ice packs you can buy… add 1/4 rubbing alcohol. So 3 cups water + 1 cup alcohol. The alcohol keeps it from freezing, making it kinda jelled.

  3. Miss Jan

    Wonderful ice pack idea!! I don’t think even my creative vet has this trick and can’t wait to show off.

    Even better than duct tape is “gorilla tape.” Sometimes you can find it at W-M but mostly you have to go to an actual real hardware store. Not as flexible but doesn’t tear and it doesn’t disintegrate when it gets wet (like duct tape sometimes does whenthe horse walks thru wet grass, for example).

    Dawn – I think it is time somewhere/someone to “Out” the name of the irresponsible breeder who did this terrible thing to all these horses. I cannot even imagine the helpless terror of mares being ripped away from their babies and babies seeing their mothers taken. This unimaginable horrific cruelty needs to face public shaming.

    Too bad Fugly isn’t doing much these days and is even selling her blog because she’s too busy with other things – she would gleefully spread this bad breeder’s name all OVER the place!

  4. Sharon

    Thanks for the great info. As Donna S said, hope I never have to use them, but great to have just in case. Please, everyone, help these babies!!

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