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Peeking Inside

Diagnostic imaging can give farriers an edge ­by looking inside the hoof, but horseshoers have to understand the ins and outs of various imaging techniques that have advanced far beyond the familiar X-ray technology.


GAINING PERSPECTIVE. Getting the most accurate reading of what’s happening in the hoof can require taking X-rays from numerous angles, including dorsopalmar (left), lateral (middle) and dorsal views. Farriers should be prepard to ask equine veterinarians for radiographs

Farriers working with equine veterinarians should be willing and able to gain insights into ailing hooves through the use of radiographs and other diagnostic imagining techniques.

“Imaging provides necessary information for a diagnosis and prognosis. It gives the information we need to proceed,” says Tracy Turner, a member of the International Equine Veterinarians Hall Of Fame.

He adds, “Without a diagnosis, any medicine given to the horse is poison. Antibiotics can create all sorts of problems, so it’s not a good idea to give them unless you have a reason. If you do surgery without a diagnosis, you’re only creating trauma. And if you’re doing any other therapy without a diagnosis, it’s witchcraft as far as I’m concerned. If you don’t know what you’re dealing with, then you’re wasting your time.”

As an example of the usefulness of diagnostic imaging, Turner, based in Elk River, Minn., notes the many potential causes of palmar foot pain or navicular syndrome, including: navicular osteitis, deep flexor tendonitis, insertional tenothapy, navicular bursitis, coffin joint problems, navicular bone fractures, injuries to the proximal ligament, injuries to the impar ligament and sole bruising.

“If you have trouble differentiating these, imaging is the way to get the best idea of what’s wrong with an ailing hoof,” Turner says. “What…

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Ron_perszewski

Ron Perszewski

Ron Perszewski is a freelance writer and former associate editor of Ameri­can Farriers Journal.

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