Preston Hickman

New Imaging System Takes Guesswork Out Of Shoeing Work

By matching measurements on the hoof to those on the imaging screen, therapeutic shoeing becomes much more precise


EXACT HOOF MEASUREMENTS. Looking at the hoof image on the computer screen, equine veterinarian Preston Hickman can point and click to get an exact set of measurements, degrees of angulation, joint radius and coffin bone length, all appear on the screen. (Photos by Mike Hutmacher, The Wichita Eagle).

It takes only a glance at Chip, the beloved Appaloosa of Leslie Chaffin, to see a horse in pain.

But Chip, who has suffered from worsening laminitis after foundering 2 years ago, has recently found a new lease on life thanks to new advances in footcare technology.

True, his right front foot is still wrapped in disposable baby diapers and vet tape. And true, he still stands somewhat on tip-toe as a concession to the tenderness in his foot.

But his left front foot is now strong and tough enough that the heart bar shoe he’ll wear for the rest of his life could be nailed on. And the right hoof that has grown back since surgery on Sept. 17 is strong and solid.

“We have another 7 or 8 months until his hoof fully grows back,” says Chaffin. “But we’re making progress. We understand we won’t ever be able to ride him again and that means he’ll be nothing more than a pasture pet. But we stand a good chance of getting him free of pain so he can walk around the pasture and a good chance of clearing up the problem with abscesses.”

Chip, now almost 18 years old, was…

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