How Comfortable Are You With Radiography?

If you’re not working with equine veterinarians to get a look inside problem hooves, you might not be doing all you can for the horses and their owners. Here’s how to get more involved with this technology

Sooner or later, most every farrier will come across a problem foot and wonder what’s going on inside the hoof wall. So, when is it right for a farrier to request radiographs, and what’s to be expected after such a request? 

Three equine veterinarians who were asked about the subject by American Farriers Journal each immediately mentioned lameness as a sufficient reason to call for radiographs. But there are many other situations that justify taking radiographs, they agree.

Veterinarian Mike Coker of Carrolton, Ga., says, “As a farrier, if I were shoeing a horse and the horse didn’t look comfortable or sound, or it didn’t move well, and there’s nothing I can see on the outside to explain this, I need to look more in depth at what’s going on within the foot. At that point, I’d want a radiograph.”

Coker, who’s also been a certifined journaeyman farrier for 17 years, adds, “If you have a hoof capsule that’s growing in an odd shape or fashion and you want to know if there is some reason internally why the capsule is growing that way, it might help to radiograph it.”

Veterinarian Mike Pownall of Rockwood, Ontario, concurs, saying that in cases of angular limb deformity leading to hoof capsule distortion, radiographs can help determine where the coffin bones are and how the farrier should trim a horse. Radiographs can help farriers determine the position of the bony column in relation to the hoof wall in other types of cases, he…

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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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