Veterinarian and Farrier Teamwork: Ultrasound and the Pastern Region

Guidelines for better veterinarian-farrier collaboration on ultrasound diagnostics

Practicing at Tufts University in Massachusetts, equine veterinarian Kate Chope brings her expertise to the clinic’s ultrasound team. When challenged with understanding what is behind an equine limb injury, ultrasound is a valuable tool that can help the team determine the cause and arrive at a decision to best help the horse.

Chope says the farrier’s expertise is essential when taking the ultrasound findings and building a plan. This has proved valuable for identifying issues affecting the pastern region. Chope reviewed techniques for using ultrasound on the pastern region with veterinary colleagues at the American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention in December 2021. And while better practices of using an ultrasound aren’t in the farrier’s realm, understanding the use in settings can foster better veterinarian-farrier relationships that ultimately benefit the horse.

Veterinary Use of Ultrasound

It is well established that soft tissue injuries occurring in the pastern region are a significant contributor to equine lameness and loss of use or performance. Among diagnostic choices, ultrasound has become a useful method for diagnosing these soft tissue injuries. Typically,   ultrasound is preferred for monitoring lesion healing and guiding rehabilitation. 

Farrier Takeaways

  • Successful use of ultrasound and interpretation of its findings rely on the experience of the veterinarian conducting the examination.
  • The ultrasound findings and overall plan relative to the shoeing are best shared in person or over the phone.
  • Veterinarians need to be mindful when discussing the case with the client to not allow misinterpretation of blame with the farrier.

“Ultrasound of…

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Jeremy mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern is the former Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is president of American Horse Publications.

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