Veterinarians' Roundtable

Q. Following an emergency foot or limb surgery in which the farrier was not present for the diagnosis of the issue or treatment, what and how will you directly communicate information to the farrier to ensure the hoof care follows your goals for long-term recovery? — Indiana farrier

A: I do several things to communicate recovery goals to a farrier: 

1. First, I stand the foot on a stiff piece of paper or cardboard and trace the wall, marking where the heels contact the ground. I also draw the heel bulbs, frog, bars and white line. Then, I mark the paper with the date, name of horse, foot and label medial/lateral. This paper is used for a template if construction of a special shoe is needed. I use a ballpoint pen — not a Sharpie marker — so everything is exact.

2. I take a lateral and dorso-palmar X-ray of the foot. The X-ray beam is centered at the distal rim of P3, and I have good soft-tissue detail so the farrier can measure sole depth, digital breakover and the palmar angle of P3 (angle of the distal rim of P3 in relation to the ground). I print out the radiograph with all the measurements. I also print at least two copies without measurements and use them to draw shoe plans.

3. I take photos of the foot from the front, side, back and sole. Sometimes I take a video of the flexion of the foot when I’m holding it…

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