Friday, March 26, 2010

Guided Tour: Horse Hoof Anatomy - Full Article

by: Christy West
January 01 2010, Article # 15697

Clip. Clop. The simple hoofbeats of your moving horse effectively hide the highly complex anatomy and physiology at work inside his hooves during each step.

As a horse owner/caretaker, knowing the basics of hoof anatomy and physiology can help you keep your horses sound and bring them back from lameness more quickly. Plus, it certainly helps to understand what the heck your veterinarian and/or farrier are talking about if your horse comes up lame.

Andrew Parks, MA, VetMB, MRCVS, Dipl. ACVS, professor of large animal surgery and head of the Department of Large Animal Medicine at the University of Georgia (UGA), puts it like this: "Understanding anatomy is a prerequisite to understanding physiology. Owners need to know what's in the foot for many day-to-day reasons; for example, if the horse steps on a nail, they need to know what structures might be damaged so they know how serious it could be." (Hint: A nail puncture in the middle third of the frog is particularly dangerous because the nail could damage several critical structures.)

In this article, we'll take a tour of equine foot/lower limb anatomy and physiology with Parks as our guide.

Basic Anatomy/Physiology Concepts

"I think of the horse's foot as a model, and try to envision the parts fitting together from the inside out (starting with the bones)," says Parks.

Read more here.

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