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“No foot, no horse.” On this age-old adage, we can all agree. But what, specifically, is wrong in that foot? Traditionally, the hoof capsule and its contents have thwarted our best efforts to understand what is going on or what is going wrong in the foot.
Over the past 15 years, medical imaging has undergone remarkable advances that have impacted every aspect of equine practice from colic management to lameness diagnosis and corrective farriery. For example, “navicular disease” was poorly understood, largely because evaluation of the foot was limited to radiographs. Modern diagnostic imaging — in particular magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) — has dramatically increased our understanding of exactly what causes horses to be lame in the foot.
MRI and CT can be used to determine the structure (or structures) involved and the nature of the injury. This information can then direct a meaningful approach to corrective shoeing, medications, surgery and exercise/rehabilitation regimes.
Advances in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT) have resulted in a greater understanding of injuries and pain associated with the caudal part of the equine foot.
The information derived from MRI and CT can direct a meaningful approach to helping the horse including corrective shoeing, medications, surgery, as well as exercise and rehabilitation.
MRI or CT should be considered in cases of hoof-related lameness
In order to illustrate some of the utility of medical imaging and the new understanding of “navicular syndrome,” we will consider four different cases…