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The Fifth International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot held in West Palm Beach, Fla., in early November, included an interesting presentation on tenotomies of the deep digital flexor tendon.
Several years ago, the late James Rooney, an equine veterinarian and researcher, advanced the theory that the deep digital flexor tendon was significantly involved in the mechanics of P3 rotation. There are two ways to lessen that tension. One is to wedge the heel up and the other is to surgically divide the tendon.
Once considered a salvage operation only used as a last resort, tenotomies are now used earlier in the disease process as another treatment option.
Mike Wildenstein, as associate professor of farrier science at Cornell University, was asked how he shoes after the procedure, and replied that tenotomies are not done at Cornell.
Conversely Scott Morrison, the equine veterinarian who heads the Podiatry Department at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., says he does them frequently with excellent success. He said that when horses that are presented with sole penetration already having occurred, a tenotomy is performed immediately.
Post-operatively, he uses impression material to raise the toe of the affected foot sufficiently to attain the desired zero degree palmar angle. The tendon is left to heal in this stretched position. When the tendon has healed, the foot is trimmed and shod to a more normal position.
He stressed that the health of the coffin bone ultimately determines the outcome of the case…