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Vaughan Seed
02-10-1994, 01:45 PM
I wonder if any-one can help me??

I am a mechanical engineer and veterinary surgeon interested in
horses leg feet and lameness (and, incidentally, in the draft
power of animals). I have a problem currently in which a horse
with base narrow, toe-in stance has developed over a period of
time marked changes in the angulation of the hoof wall and
serious bruising. I am interested in methods of dealling with
this problem, particularly the possibility of `building' an
artificial hoof wall to redirect the strain taken by the foot to
promote expansion of the heel.

Because of the conformation of the leg the breakover point of
this horse is lateral to the toe. This results in considerable
dishing during flight and landing of the hoof for the next stride
on the lateral wall with, I suspect relatively, little weight on
the medial wall.
The lateral wall has become more up-right (more vertical) and the
medial wall flattened (flared). At the heel the hoof has turned
under to a marked extent and is subject to serious bruising.

X-rays of the hoof indicate that the base of PIII (coffin bone)
is virtually parallel to the floor line of the hoof (ie the line
joining the hoof walls). The joints above PIII seem all to be
sitting correctly. No boney changes are evident in the foot
itself.

The text books recommend the building up of the lateral wall -
this has been done (approx elevation by 6mm relative to the
opposite side). The horse has been shod with the shoe protruding
out laterally to where the hoof wall should come if the wall was
growing out normally. The toe is rolled to ensure breakover
occurs over at the toe.
These measures have restored to a marked effect the `correct'
hoof flight.

However, to promote lateral expansion of the hoof wall the
traditional approach is grooving the wall to make it more
flexible. In theory the restoration of hoof wall is driven by the
expansion of the heels/frog during each stride.
In this case the hoof is under run and I am concerned that the
pressure on the heel in the stride will tend to cause further
collapse rather than the intended expansion.

One possible solution that has occurred to me is to form a
fibreglass (or similar) wedge that would be bonded to the outside
hoof wall and sit onto the protruded shoe so that the surface of
the fibreglass structure would sit exactly like the wall of the
hoof should sit in a properly formed hoof. This should redirect
the weight of the horse directly down the the ground via the shoe
and allow the hoof to reform under more natural load conditions.

Does anyone have any experience with this approach to this sort
of hoof treatment or foresee any problems? Are there any other
suggestions for handling this situation??

Many thanks for for your help