Veterinarians Roundtable

Q. Can we produce an arthritic condition by exerting extra pressure on the bone surfaces through the continuous use of a trailer on the shoe?

—Milwaukee, Wis., farrier

A: A lot of people make the outside heel longer and hook it out. I would discourage the use of a single trailer. I work with two farriers regularly in my practice, and we never put just one trailer on a shoe.  

If you use a single trailer to supply more traction, more drag or more support to one side of the foot than the other, that tends to create a twisting motion when the foot impacts the ground. That trailer is going to catch, and the column of bone is going to want to twist.

And if you supply more traction or more drag or imbalance to the foot, you can certainly wind up with degenerative joint disease in the coffin joint, in the pastern joint and even in the fetlock joint.

These negative changes can be magnified if the trailer has a calk attached. Then the foot will really want to rotate around that calk because it catches so hard when the foot hits the ground. It will definitely create abnormal torque and stress in the lower limb joints, and degenerative joint disease could certainly result.

I prefer to extend the ends of both heels of a shoe straight back, instead of hooking them laterally or medially. This avoids that twisting and torquing tendency while providing caudal support.

We basically

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