Procedure For Evaluating Hoof Soundness

Any lameness evaluation  should include the whole horse first, then the apparent affected part of the horse.

A very high percentage (many people say it is 90 percent while others say it’s 99 percent) of the lamenesses in the front leg occur in the knee or below.

A high percentage (about 75 percent) of lamenesses, below and not including the knee, are found in the foot. The foot should always be inspected and checked out first as the possible site of lameness.

When conducting a lameness examination, remember to view the problem as a lame horse. Next, determine the specific lame area(s). Finally, combine your findings into a diagnosis you can feel confident in expressing.

If you don’t feel confident, it is best to suggest a differential diagnosis (other possibilities) until each can be followed up. The primary objective should be to assist the horse. If you can’t do that, be wise enough to express your feelings and refer the case to someone who can.

It is important to follow a step-by-step system or routine when conducting an examination. Essential information may be overlooked and you may fail to correctly diagnose the problem and effectively treat the horse if you don’t follow a system.

Here are four parts of a systematic approach for evaluating the hoof for soundness.

1. Request A History Of The Horse

Gather as much information as possible and evaluate it according to what you see and feel. Information that is most useful and recommended by J.T…

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Doug Butler

Doug Butler and his sons Jake and Pete run Butler Professional Farrier School, LLC near Chadron, Neb.

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