Veterinarians' Roundtable

Q: Do veins and arteries repair or regenerate after being damaged? If so, is there anything a farrier can do to encourage that process? Could a farrier harm healthy arteries and veins? If so, how? —Idaho Farrier

A: Yes, all of the arteries and veins will attempt to regenerate in order to revascularize an area. I don’t know of anything a farrier could do to stimulate this process, other than there is some suggestion that grooving techniques can help reduce pressure on the coronary band and thus help circulation. 

Grooving involves cutting a horizontal groove in the hoof capsule just below the coronary band. The idea is to take pressure off the coronary band on a foot that has a P3 displacement within it and where the coronary band has been pulled down within the capsule. The grooving loosens up some of the hoof wall and takes pressure off some of the blood vessels after they’ve been restricted due to disease.

The grooves are best made in cooperation with a veterinarian, who can give the farrier a better idea of where the bone and vasculature are located within the foot. 

On the other hand, a farrier could harm the circulatory system by creating too much pressure on the sensitive structures of the foot or on the sole, or making something too tight so it squeezes the hoof capsule too much. For example, putting too much pressure on the sole can constrict the circumflex vessels around the coffin bone. If we…

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