Scott Morrison, the equine veterinarian who heads up the podiatry practice at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., says in most cases, it’s best to view therapeutic shoes as a temporary measure — particularly if the horse involved is an athlete.

“I don’t like leaving athletes in therapeutic shoes too long. I try to get them back into normal shoes as soon as possible,” says Morrison.

“Therapeutic shoes shift the weight from one area of the foot to another or take stress off one part of the foot to allow it to heal or come back to normal. If you take the load off one area you are usually loading another area,” he explains. “Once the problem area is healed, if the shoe stays on longer than it needs to, you often get secondary problems because of added stress on another area.” 

We’ll have more on using therapeutic shoes in the January/February, 2011 issue of American Farriers Journal.

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