Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Can Natural Hoof Care Reverse Laminitis?

Debra R. Taylor DVM, MS, DACVIM at the Auburn University College of Veterinary Medicine thinks it's possible, and is doing the research to prove it. EasyCare, Inc has helped by providing funds and encourages those who have an interest in natural hoof care to do the same. EasyCare's donation helps fund intern Adam Cooner.

Dr. Taylor is recording and studying the results of natural hoof care on chronic laminitis cases. Hoof care practitioner Pete Ramey and his wife, Ivy, are currently traveling to Auburn every three weeks to expand the preliminary study - hopefully to include 50 horses. The study has consistently shown rotation reversal, increased sole thickness and profound improvement in levels of soundness. Several case horses have also demonstrated reversal of distal descent of P3. The goal is to publish this data as a scientific paper; it would be the first time a successful method of reversing chronic laminitis has been published. If you have a laminitic horse you would like to add to the study (and can haul to the University) please contact Dr. Taylor at the vet school. Boarding is available at nearby farms.

Dr. Taylor has begun additional studies to prove out the clinical relevance of the research findings of Robert Bowker VMD, PhD. This summer she will use ultrasonography, cadaver dissection, histology, radiography, MRI and CT to establish parameters for evaluating lateral cartilage and digital cushion development. This preliminary cadaver study will pave the way for a planned study to track the caudal foot development in live horses over time using radiography, ultrasonography, MRI and/or CT.

Currently, there are a limited number of veterinarians in the field that recognize the significance of internal foot development, and its ramifications to the horse's longevity and soundness. Experts in the field of hoof imaging, rarely address the anatomy, structure or health of the lateral cartilages, the digital cushion or heel depth when interpreting MRI results on horses with heel pain - in other words, half of the total volume of the foot is rarely taken into consideration. This study linking Bowker's cadaver studies to MRI, ultrasound and radiographic parameters should become critical to the future of lameness treatment and prevention.

Click here to see radiographs of two of the cases from a study.

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