Farrier, Vet Teamwork Critical with Foot Surgeries

Most of these cases require both the veterinarian and farrier to achieve optimal results

An all-important aspect of hoof wall or sole surgery is the aftercare provided by farriers. Healing often takes considerable time and requires hoof protection during the post-operative period to provide comfort to the horse and to reduce environmental contamination around the surgical site, says Cliff Honnas.

The equine veterinarian with the Texas Equine Hospital in Bryan, Texas, told attendees at the early December American Association of Equine Practitioners meeting in Baltimore, Md., that farrier input is essential. Working closely on many of these surgical cases with farrier Don Sustaire of College Station, Texas, Honnas emphasized the importance of follow-up care with surgery in the horny hoof capsule to deal with lesions caused by infection, benign tumors and penetrating injuries.

Foot Abscesses

Honnas says pathogens found in the soft tissues of the foot often lead to distal phalanx concerns. When foot abscesses fail to drain to the exterior of the hoof, resulting infections often lead to a loss of blood supply in the bone. The result can be the same when foreign objects penetrate the sole and affect the distal phalanx. Blood supply alternations associated with laminitis may also result in sequestrum formation. (Sequestrum is described as a dead bone fragment that has separated from the normal bone structure.)

Clinical signs are often determined with radiographic evidence that indicates osteolysis or a possible distal phalanx sequestration of a bone segment. These may include:

  • A history of chronic laminitis.
  • Reoccurring drainage from the sole.
  • Presence of a draining tract that leads to…
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Frank_lessiter

Frank Lessiter

Frank Lessiter has spent more than 50 years in the agricultural and equine publishing business. The sixth generation member to live on the family’s Centennial farm in Michigan, he is the Editor/Publisher of American Farriers Journal.

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