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Radiographs can help spot structural changes within a laminitic foot and serve as an essential guide when trimming and shoeing a horse with chronic laminitis, says Stephen O'Grady. The equine veterinarian from Marshall, Va., finds a thorough understanding of radiographs is essential since treating chronic laminitis must be a joint venture between a veterinarian and farrier.
While the lateral radiograph is considered the "gold standard," when evaluating chronic laminitis, O'Grady maintains it doesn't help identify asymmetrical medial or lateral distal displacement. Therefore, he says, a high quality dorsopalmar (dorso 0 degree palmar) radiographic projection is essential in acute or chronic laminitis cases to visualize the osseous structures within the hoof capsule as well as the hoof capsule itself. He explains how to rely on radio-opaque markers to determine the position of the distal phalanx in relation to surface landmarks on the foot.
O'Grady cites different chronic laminitis cases to illustrate radiographic interpretation, application to the foot and reveal eventual outcomes.
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