Therapeutic Case Provides Valuable Lessons for Students at Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School

by Larkin Greene

Recently, I spent time at Pacific Coast Horseshoeing School.  Students in their third week of instruction were able to observe and participate in valuable lessons regarding work with therapeutic cases.  I was privileged to help provide training and guidance for the treatment of the horse presented in the following photos.

Upon first glance at the foot shown below, it would be easy to look at the length and believe a proper course of action would be an aggressive trim, to find the better foot within.  However, this horse was older and had very limited mobility, underrun heels and an atrophied frog.  In addition, there was a significant white line resection and treatment done two months ago that was showing improvement.  The students performed a conservative trim to align the pastern and dorsal wall and shod the foot for protection.

The question of whether or not to repair was discussed.  There are many factors to be considered in this decision: (1) how much wall has been removed, and will it destabilize the capsule and P3?; (2) is there still wall separation, and/or pathology present?; (3) will the shoe stay on if it’s left open?; (4) is the horse’s environment going to contribute to further intrusion by bacteria and fungus?

The decision was made to do a partial repair to stabilize the hoof and protect it from a dirty environment. Because there was a soft spot in the upper portion of the defect that got a negative reaction to applied pressure, the conservative approach dictated leaving it open to allow monitoring and further treatment if needed.

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