By decreasing a laminitic horse’s willingness to bear weight on its foot, David Hood says chronic pain often leads to considerable changes in the foot. This includes contraction of the deep digital flexor tendon, hoof capsule and remodeling of the distal phalanx, says the researcher at the Hoof Project Foundation and Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas. As a result, he urges farriers to always include pain control in developing all rehabilitation efforts to be used with laminitis.
With more farriers looking at radiographs to guide their shoeing work, Scott Morrison says you might be missing some items when you’re looking at the X-ray of a laminitic foot. “Make sure you understand what you’re seeing,” he said recently, while displaying “Before” and After” radiographs of a laminitic foot. “At first glance, it might appear that this horse is growing sole, which is something you want.”
But the equine vet who heads up the podiatry practice with Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., pointed out that the coffin bone in the “After” shot had not de-rotated. It was still at the same angle as in the “Before” shot. So what was actually happening to the foot?
“It’s not growing at all,” says Morrison. “The horse is actually losing bone. The tip of the coffin bone is eroding.” Measurement and a careful look at the X-rays confirmed Morrison’s diagnosis. His story is a good example of how a…