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Shoes mask weaknesses, barefoot highlights strengths

Friday, 7 September 2012

Should I shoe my laminitic?

Way way back I deshod a laminitic that was due to be PTS that week. Shod by an award winning farrier there was apparently nothing more that could be done. The horse was lame and fed up having suffered conventional therapy and been box rested for months. The owner was naturally distraught.

It wasn't long before he was sound and even with a few dietary hiccups he has been sound since and is currently in work.

I want to walk you through a few pictures - some are gross so finish your dinner before you read any further.

This first picture shows 'Henry', one of my freeze dried legs.  You can see the lamellar wedge, imminent solar penetration and how the poor thing is forced to bear weight on the tip of his pedal bone.
'Henry' NB wedge, angle of the pedal bone & heel height
 These photos tell their own story.  I understand that some HCP are taught to maintain the toe wall between 45 and 55 degrees. 
Initially this is done by rasping out the outer hoof wall, then when this option is exhausted (no outer wall left), the heel is raised. 
This of course will invert the hoof capsule so the horse has to bear progressively more weight on the tip of the pedal bone.  This is both painful and injurous to the horse.

Red is pre trim angle, green post
NB heel height - pre trim, sole has been dechalked
With no more heel raising, but a complete diet change and lots of movement, the healing angle (HA) can grow down.
You can see the difference betwee the angle the horse was forced to maintain when he had shoes on, compared with the angle the hoof is meant to grow at. 
NB Wedge, red line denotes HA when fully grown in
You can see the history of trials and tribulations the horse went through during his rehab - dietary misadventures mostly.  But the last bit of wedge is nearly grown out.  Horse was sound throughout.
A few months later, not without hiccups and the wedge has
all but grown out.  Hoof in background has yet to be trimmed.


Freyalyn Close-Hainsworth said...

Fabulous outcome.

Lisa said...

I am yet to save my first laminitic life - it must be an amazing feeling to help a miserable horse return to riding sound.

Great pics!

Val said...

Beautifully and clearly demonstrated. Bravo!

amandap said...

Great post and what great progress.

May I ask why the periople on hooves with laminitis often gets crusty and flaky?

Jenny Hayes said...

Cool blog! I found this blog very useful; have learned lots of thing here. Salisbury Farms

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