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Using Wood To Win The Fight Against Laminitis

Wooden support may be new solution to old problem


TIME FOR A CHANGE. This set of wooden shoes have been worn for 4 weeks on a foundered mare. The mare showed dramatic improvement immediately with the Advance Cushion Support, a 2-degree wedge pad and the wooden shoe applied with drywall screws.

Trying to find an affordable, yet effective, way to treat laminitis, equine veterinarian Micheal L. Steward of Shawnee, Okla., has developed a wooden shoe that has proven remarkably successful in helping the laminitic horses he has treated with it.

Steward says he has spent the last 10 to 15 years attempting to perfect this shoe and he believes it is the duty of veterinarians around the world to do a better job of healing horses.

“I’m ashamed of my profession at times,” Steward says. “We have nothing to offer the horse, and we have nothing to offer the farrier.”

Working With Wood

Steward’s innovation involves cutting a piece of wood into various shapes and screwing these shapes in the same position as a horseshoe. The only difference is that the screws are inserted first through the hoof wall and then down into the shoe. The horse will stand on the wooden shoe as the screws are inserted. 

“If you do it right, the horse will hold the good foot in the air while placing weight on the bad foot,” Steward remarks.

Loading The Heel

When designing wooden shoes, Steward recommends that the shoe “loads the heel,” which he terms as “reducing capsular and digital breakover to release stress…

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