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Hospital plates (often referred to as “treatment plates”) consist of a metal or plastic plate attached to the distal side of a horse’s shoe. The attachment mechanism usually involves the use of bolts or screws that are threaded into the shoe. Removable plates provide protection to the bottom of the foot and offer distinct advantages over plastic or leather pads applied between the shoe and the hoof.
A hospital plate can be readily removed to provide access to the sole. This can be of considerable value when treating acute lesions in the sole or wall. Even if the injury is not in need of regular treatment, the hospital plate can provide protection to the delicate tissue of a healing wound. But it also provides easy access to the site should the wound become secondarily infected or if access becomes necessary after the horse has been shod.
Since the plate is mounted on the distal side of the shoe, the plate is spaced away from the sole by the thickness of the shoe. This provides considerable room for application of medication, or for sole packing for selected areas of support.
The use of hospital plate shoes for treatment of a variety of problems have been described numerous times in literature. Chapman (1997) described the use of a hospital plate for managing chronic laminitis. O’Grady et al (1999) described the use of a plastic hospital plate for the treatment of penetrating wounds in the sole or…