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British research indicates that horses with collapsed heels tend to have less hoof deformation (expansion) in the heel region than horses with heels that are in good shape. Peter Day and other researchers at The Royal Veterinary College in Hatfield, England, say this lack of hoof deformation decreases the shock-absorbing impact and likely influences the region’s blood supply. At the recent International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot in West Palm Beach, Fla., the researchers reported that these collapsed heel findings may lead to deep digital flexor tendon and navicular bone concerns in horses with collapsed heels.
Brady Bergin says an abscess that makes a horse lame in only one hoof can be difficult for an owner to recognize, especially if the horse is reluctant to move. The equine vet at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Ore., finds hoof testers help in determining whether a lameness concern is laminitis or a hoof abscess. “A horse with an abscess will typically have a specific painful spot on the margin of the sole, heel or frog,” he says. “If you investigate with a hoof knife, you’ll find a pocket of pus and the horse will be much better once it’s drained.”
On the other hand, a laminitic horse is typically sensitive over the sole in the area near the tip of the coffin bone. Complicating matters is the fact that a foundered horse…