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How to Identify and Rehabilitate Compromised Horses’ Feet

Resolution of therapeutic cases can be difficult due to unique variables

Farrier Takeaways

  • Identifying the earliest onset of any change in exterior hoof health can be advantageous in the outcome.
  • Once a decline in overall foot health has been noted, hoof-care providers can be led down a path of reactive footcare in the hope to regain the structural function of the capsule.
  • The application of therapeutic support can bring significant value and comfort to the horse. However, without considering the primary onset, the condition may continue to arise if the primary cause isn’t identified.

As equine hoof care providers, we are often tasked with the challenge of interpreting the hoof’s response to neglectful husbandry or the horse’s adaption to load-bearing or pain.

There can be a multitude of factors that ultimately change the morphology of the horse’s hoof capsule. These variables can be difficult to assess and navigate as the nuances around every case can be completely different. Footcare may need to be addressed in a variety of ways to resolve different case presentations.1

Identifying Changes

In many ways, the horse’s foot is an amazing piece of bioengineering. The complexities of the internal mechanisms of perfusion, energy distribution and locomotion are all intricate pieces of the puzzle of overall foot health.2 Many of these internal structures also provide detailed services to the overall external health of the foot.3 For hoof-care providers, identifying the earliest onset of any change in exterior hoof health can be advantageous. It allows the hoof-care provider to start to make necessary changes and communicate…

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Stewart muir ihcs 18

Stuart Muir

Stuart Muir is a resident farrier at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., and president of the Northeast Association of Equine Practitioners.

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