Farrier Roundtable

Q: What is the difference in shoeing methods between treating a sinker and a foundered horse?

— California farrier

A: There are four possible pathological conditions of laminitis.

  1. No lameness or distal-phalanx hoof wall separation.
  2. Lameness without distal-phalanx hoof wall separation.
  3. Lameness and ventral rotation of the distal phalanx (“critical mass” of supporting lamellae has been lost).
  4. Lameness and vertical displacement of the distal phalanx (“sinking” — total lamellar failure).

Trimming and shoeing principles in all of this cases are the same — to “protect and support” without causing pressure and pain. In all cases we’d like to recruit the sole and frog to aid in load sharing with the wall. This can be done with multiple options including sand stalls, boots, taped-on pads, frog pads, heart bars, impression materials, urethane pads, etc.

Take care to lessen the amount of lever strain placed on the lamella when the horse is in motion. This can be done multiple ways — clogs, shoes with rolled edges, casts with “domed” Equilox on the bottom, etc.

Coronary grooving is used in cases where shear lesions are present. A deep digital flexor tenotomy (DDFT) is also commonly used along with “de-rotational shoeing.” This is done to remove the tension of the DDFT and allow the distal phalanx to be placed in as normal of a position to the ground as possible to restore blood flow and allow for new growth.

— Travis Burns, Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine, Blacksburg, Va.

A: First, one must…

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