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Ric Redden, the equine veterinarian from Versailles, Ky., says before you can learn anything from taking the hoof pulse of a horse in a laminitis exam, you have to know what a non-elevated pulse feels like. “If you haven’t felt the pulse of a lot of feet at different times, checking the pulse when you suspect laminitis won’t tell you much,” he told veterinarians and farriers at his July Equine Podiatry Series seminar on laminitis. “Teach yourself to recognize the range of normal.”
Redden says the way to learn that range is to check the pulses on several breeds of horses when they are sound. “Check when they are sleeping, following exercise, pawing for food, in cold and hot weather,” he says. “Once you’ve learned the range of normal, you’ll know when a pulse is elevated.” Redden says when you’re checking hoof pulses on sound horses, also make note of the surface temperature of the feet by placing the back of your hand against them. That will help you become familiar with the wide range of temperatures in the feet of sound horses.
Marvin Martin and his sons tacked on 3,500 sets of shoes last year. The Excelsior, Mo., shoer started taking a special interest in foundered feet 25 years ago. “Each time a horse in the area died, I would keep the hooves,” he told American Quarter Horse Journal editors. “I started…