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FROM THE HOOFCARE & LAMENESS ARCHIVES
Laminitis Resection Techniques and
All they needed was Howard Cosell to do the play-by-play. On Friday evening at the Second Bluegrass Laminitis Symposium in Lexington, Kentucky, no one was thinking about dinner, as a video crew started to set up, and a horse van pulled up to the Heritage Hall loading dock. Seven hundred farriers and veterinarians watched as out crept a crippled young Thoroughbred, donated in the name of education to the cause. The horse was a "sinker", suffering from one of the worst syndromes in laminitisdom--straight vertical displacement of the third phalanx in both front feet.
This type of laminitis is not easy to diagnose radiographically, since the boney column remains more or less aligned but actually sinks within the hoof capsule. A radiograph of the horse before the onset is helpful to determine the amount of "sinking". The change can be felt at the coronary band, which Burney Chapman illlustrated with his finger as he pressed into an indentation there. "You can roll a dime around the coronary band," he announced.
The stage was prepared and the horse inched forward under bright theater lights, with his groom, Mike, holding him. The audience watched on two large video screens, as first Burney Chapman and then Dr. Redden went to work on the horse. Each did his style of hoof resection, then applied a therapeutic device.
For Burney, the device was his classic heartbar shoe, welded for him backstage by Myron McLane. Burney used a Dremel Moto-Flex with flexible handpiece, along with Myron's pair of custom-made half-round GE nippers, to resect the hoofwall at the toe. The Flex Dremel is a new, easier-to-use model of the standard Dremel promoted at the 1986 symposium by Dr. Platt of Texas.
When Burney was done, Dr. Redden blocked the foot, so the horse could bear weight on it comfortably while he lifted the other one. Dr. Redden used a rasp to initiate his resection, carefully marking the area he desired to remove, and thinning the thick toe wall before turning the work over to his farrier assistant, Joe Carroll.
Dr. Redden's foot was not shod, but rather the hoof surface was covered by InstaPad, a pour-in acrylic product manufactured by McCullough-Cartwright. The horse's hoof and lower leg were then elaborately padded and ban-daged, and the horse was vanned to a nearby farm, where his condition, which is still very serious, will be carefully monitored.
Ten days later, Chapman and Redden both checked on the horse and adjusted their devices. When Hoofcare last saw the horse in mid-June, it was lying in its stall, but Mike said that it was eating well and standing part of the day. It was difficult to get the horse to stand, but once up, it was alert and quite bright. Chapman checked the heart bar and touched up his resection with his Dremel, and Mike rebandaged Dr. Redden's foot, where a little proud flesh was beginning to appear at the toe. Burney was very pleased with the way that the horse was bearing weight on the heart-bar foot. He warned Mike about the onset of abscesses.
The plastic "pad" under the Redden foot conformed well to the hoof's rather convex ground surface and was held snugly in position by elastic bandage. The pad popped right into Mike's hand when the bandage came off, making it easy to treat the bottom of the foot. He only had to put the pad back against the bottom of the foot and start rewrapping.
Burney was expected in Lexington on July 8 to do further work on his foot of the horse. Dr. Redden has been videotaping the changes in the horse since the resections.
This article originally appeared in Hoofcare & Lameness: The Journal of Equine Foot Science and is available for your personal use only. Re-publication is prohibited without the express written permission of Hoofcare & Lameness.
Detailed information on this and many other hoofcare topics can be found in Hoofcare & Lameness publisher Fran Jurga's award-winning guide to hoofcare, "Understanding the Equine Foot".
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