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Success With Hoof Testers Requires A Systematic Approach

An open discussion of this veterinarian-farrier tool results in ideas on avoiding common mistakes

Any veterinarian who works with farriers should encourage those colleagues to use hoof testers, according to Dr. Stephen O’Grady. The Hall Of Fame veterinarian from Marshall, Va., says hoof testers are valuable for farriers to carry out their work, such as searching for discomfort or unloading an area. He vehemently disagrees with the notion that farriers shouldn’t use hoof testers.

“There are some who say that farriers who use hoof testers are practicing veterinary medicine,” he says. “That is absolute nonsense — they are practicing their trade.”

O’Grady delivered this observation during a table topic discussion on lamenesses of the foot at the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Annual Convention in December 2015. A discussion regarding initial examination of a horse in a lameness case sparked a sharing of ideas on hoof testers among a few veterinarians in attendance.

Be Consistent

Discussion began with at what point hoof testers are introduced into an equine lameness examination. With any suspicion of any lameness, Dr. Mark Silverman of Sporthorse Veterinary Services in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., says he first performs a thorough examination of the horse from nose to tail, then tail back to nose. Unless he uncovers an obvious pulse or heat concern, he’ll then hoof test the horse all around.

Dr. Bill Moyer, former professor at Texas A&M University and AAEP past president, agrees about examining the whole horse initially, adding that too many times he would come in with a preconceived notion of what the problem might be…

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Jeremy_mcgovern

Jeremy McGovern

Jeremy McGovern has been a journalist for nearly 20 years. He has been a member of the American Farriers Journal staff for 7 years and serves as the Executive Editor/Publisher. A native of Indiana, he also is a member of the board of directors for the American Horse Publications organization of equine media.

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