Research Journal

The information, ideas and opinions expressed are those of the author and do not 
necessarily represent those of the United States Department of Agriculture.

Hoof Shape And Laminar Structure

This landmark study examined correlations between hoof shape and laminar morphology. The hypothesis was that hoof shape would be related to the shape and orientation of the lamina at the cellular level and that this relationship would vary between breeds.

Measurements were taken from the hooves of 27 Standardbreds and 25 Thoroughbreds with no known hoof problems. These measurements were correlated with the spacing, orientation and curvature of the primary epidermal laminae (PEL). Capsule shape and PEL orientation and spacing were different between the breeds with Standardbreds generally having a more upright hoof in the quarters and shorter, more upright heels. PEL variables also were different between the breeds with these differences more pronounced in the quarters and heels compared to the toe region.

The authors acknowledge these data support — but do not prove — the concept that the PEL and the hoof capsule are capable of adaptive remodeling in response to stress and strain in the hoof wall as a result of the factors that influence this including hoof shape, exercise and the environment.

Although not fully understood at this time, these relationships have important implications for therapeutic trimming and the treatment of hoof-related disorders.

—Thomason et al. EVJ 2008;40:473-480.

It’s Official: Horses Bite and Kick!

It seems obvious but many people fail to appreciate the frequency and significance…

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Albert Kane

Albert J. Kane, DVM, MPVM, Ph.D.

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