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While digital extension test values do not pinpoint a specific lesion, they are extremely useful in determining shoeing needs where more than one lesion is found with diagnostic imaging, says Hans Castelijns.
Properly assessing the foot is a critical part of evaluating form and function in terms of conformation, says Marvin Beeman.
The member of the International Equine Veterinarian Hall Of Fame with the Littleton Large Animal Clinic in Littleton, Colo., refers to the foot as the “mouth of the funnel” where all concussive force is transmitted to the external surface.
Beeman says the equine foot can vary in shape and size depending on breed, type, specific use, geography and numerous other factors. But in all cases, the foot should always be proportional to the horse’s height, weight, conformation and special aptitudes.
“Be very aware of the specific anatomical structures, especially those structures that are so critical for the support of the tremendous amount of force generated with the hoof and ground interaction,” he says.
“Asymmetrical feet are a conformation defect of significance. Uneven feet, especially front feet, are an issue of consequence since over 60% of the lameness encountered in the foot will occur in the one with a smaller frog, more vertical bars, enlarged heels above the cornet band and a greater distance from the bearing surface of the heel to the coronet band.”
Beeman says the concept regarding the frog and foot are as important today as it was…