Thursday, December 16, 2010

Managing Hoof Problems in Horses

by: Christy West, Digital Editor/Producer
June 01 2004, Article # 5202

Just about every horse out there has what we might call a hoof problem on at least one of his four feet. It might be a simple mismatch that might not really be a problem, or it might be much more serious. In any case, hoof problems, regardless of scope, need to be managed properly to maximize the horse's soundness, comfort, and usefulness to you.

The challenge is five-fold, according to Bruce Lyle, DVM, who focuses primarily on foot care in his practice in Aubrey, Texas. "My approach to any case is to begin with problem identification, identify contributing factors, change what I can, and then observe the response, followed by re-evaluation," he says. "Identifying the problem can be challenging because of the lack of valid research on causes of pain in the foot. Sound horses performing at a high level may have abnormal-appearing bones on radiographs, whereas other lame horses may have an apparently beautiful foot with no radiographic abnormalities. In many cases, ultrasound and nuclear scintigraphy may be negative also, frustrating owner, farrier, and veterinarian.

"Because of these negative experiences and the lack of consistent, practical research, farrier John Arkley (more on him shortly) and I have joined with a growing faction of veterinarians and farriers handling foot problems and lameness from a fundamental form-to-function approach," Lyle says...

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