Farriers' Roundtable

Q: “When should you use a heart bar shoe in treating laminitis?” 

A: The heart bar shoe came into being through the genius of Burney Chapman of Lubbock, Texas, who found the concept outlined in an old shoeing book.

Most farriers agree that early treatment (prior to rotation of P3) in laminitis is absolutely crucial. Trimming the hoof to a balanced angle and shape is important during the acute stages, especially if the horse has been neglected.

Trimming under these circumstances usually involves lowering the heels and rasping back the toe to restore a balanced hoof shape with a normal pastern angle. The point of the frog should not be trimmed and should be utilized to help bear some of the weight. Extreme care must be exercised to not lower the heels too far, since additional pull created against the coffin bone by the flexor tendon increases the amount of rotation. Since this is similar to the chicken-or-the-egg concept, each case must be evaluated on its own merits.

Pressure must be relieved from the sole. Laminar scar tissue must be Walter Kreeger removed from the toe region. Anyabscesses must be opened and irrigated.

With the heart bar shoe, pressure is applied slightly behind the point of the frog to relieve pressure from the hoof wall and to stabilize and prevent further P3 rotation. Too much pressure may increase pain while too little may cause pain as the coffin bone continues to sink.

Europeans have a different theory. They believe that…

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