The Importance of Frog Engagement

Therapeutic shoeing protocol manages this artificially, enhancing soundness in horses with navicular problems

There are many different techniques to therapeutically shoe horses for various hoof disorders. The veterinary and farrier professions are becoming more and more sophisticated in podiatry, using the mechanics of the hoof along with new synthetic materials  to complement various shoeing systems.

Often therapeutic shoeing systems are not properly applied or the proper therapeutic shoeing application is not applied to a particular condition. The increasing research on the biomechanism of the hoof and our expanding medical/imaging capabilities can now be combined to help one understand the forces that may lead to the lesions found in many hoof disorders.

Abnormal hoof conditions will generally lend themselves to a change in foot mechanics and subsequently foot conformation. The conformation parameters and the mechanics of the hoof with palmar foot pain as well as overall soundness can often be enhanced with the use of therapeutic shoeing principles derived from successfully treated laminitic cases. These principles are:

  1. Re-establish weight bearing along the entire solar surface of the distal phalanx (rather than concentrating it at the apex).
  2. Aid breakover by moving the functional breakover point palmarly.
  3. Decrease stresses in the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT )1.
  4. Enhance circulation (if possible).

The shoeing protocol described in this paper uses not only the above biomechanical principles, but also a tiered shoeing system beginning with a wooden shoe and progressing to a more traditional shoe combined with impression material.­

Too Much On The Toe

Chronic laminitic cases typically involve too much weight bearing on the toe…

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Micheal L Steward

Micheal Steward, DVM, is an International Equine Veterinarian Hall Of Fame member and is based in Shawnee, Okla.

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