What's the best way to manage "sinkers?"

Q: What’s the best way to manage “sinkers?”

A: In the majority of cases, euthanizing the horse is probably the right choice for practical and humane reasons. "Sinker" means there has been sufficient damage to the attachments of the coffin bone that the coffin bone - and thus the skeleton- has been displaced within the hoof capsule. That's opposed to the coffin bone simply rotating at the toe. This means there has been massive destruction. It is the most severe form of laminitis damage, and the owner, farrier and veterinarian should communicate to determine whether they want to continue treating the horse.

It's very unlikely that a horse with this degree of damage will go back to work or athletics. If the decision is made to try to salvage the animal for breeding purposes or some other reason, they have to consider that no single method has proven to be better or more successful than any other. Each of the horses with this problem is different in weight, size, shape of the foot, distance of the coffin bone from the bottom of the foot, availability of expertise, cost, number of feet involved and other factors.

Sinker cases can be very complicated and difficult to manage. The shape and quality of the foot or feet even before the problem may be limiting factors.

What you attempt to do with the bottom of the foot, and with the surface the horse lives on, is provide protection with the hope that the sinking…

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