Copper Sulfate Uses

Typical Uses with Silicone Hoof Packings

Copper Sulfate Pentahydrate [CuSO4-5H2O] is a naturally-occurring inorganic salt. Besides pharmaceutical and various chemical applications, it is frequently used as a fungicide in agriculture to control bacterial and fungal diseases of fruit and some field crops. It is also used as an algaecide and an herbicide in irrigation and municipal water treatment systems.

WARNING: Copper Sulfate is moderately toxic upon acute oral exposure and should be handled and treated as a strong irritant. It can be corrosive to the skin and eyes. It is readily absorbed through the skin and can produce a burning pain, along with the same severe symptoms of poisoning from ingestion. Users of this material should acquaint themselves with the applicable MSDS information before handling or using the chemical.

  1. Wear gloves when using materials containing copper sulfate!
  2. Wear a dust mask or respirator when using copper sulfate crystals or powders. AVOID INHALATION!

Typical methods for using Copper Sulfate with Silicone Hoof Packings:

  1. Copper Sulfate is available from pharmaceutical, industrial, commercial and retail sources in different purities. Typical commercial purity is found in septic system “Root Killer” – 99% copper sulfate and 1% inert materials.
  2. The crystal size in commercially available copper sulfate is usually larger than optimal for use in hoof packing applications. Large crystals do not have the high surface area to weight ratio that is best when used in combination with silicone packing applications for hoof packing…. you can fix that!
  3. To reduce the size of crystals a farrier could put a small quantity of the material into a strong plastic “baggy” to contain it while crushing the crystals to reduce them to a smaller size. Avoid creating or inhaling dust.
  4. To prepare hoof-packing material, first mix the copper sulfate crystals with the white side of the 2-part silicone packing. The ratio should be approximately 1:1 by volume (not weight). Wear gloves!
  5. To mix the silicone for hoof application, you will have to use about 1.5-2x the typical amount of the modified “white” material to get the right mix properties with part “B” of the silicone. You have modified the “A” side so it is no longer a conventional 1:1 mix ratio. Experiment with a small amount of material. Wear gloves!
  6. Use the silicone packing as normal on the hoof. Collect the trimmings and appropriately dispose of them.

What is Happening?

  • Unlike commercially available urethane packing materials, Silicone Hoof Packing is “gas permeable” when cured. Active materials entrained in silicone packing will tend to chemically migrate to areas of lower concentration; this would typically be at the surface of the silicone packing. This action will be accelerated in moist or wet conditions. Since the silicone packing material is supporting the sole or frog, the active ingredients will be acting against those surfaces. Most typically, the modified silicone packing will provide an anti-fungal action. In many cases it will also exfoliate the sole leaving a clean fresh surface.