Cadaver no. 2

Updated: Sep 4, 2021

Hi there I'm back!

If you missed the first of the blog post series on my trimming in Anglesey, Wales UK you might want to go back a step, read that and then come back here. You can find it in the "Hoof Care" drop down blog menu.

If you have already caught up, let's get on with Cadaver no. 2!

This cadaver was a really good example of a hoof that looks sort of "passable" at a first glance, to then actually being seriously pathological! To the untrained eye, this hoof may not look as bad as some of the others I am going to share with you.

Here's some before photos

So I've seen many horses hooves that look like this on my outings as an equine sports massage therapist over the years. Obviously before attending this course I wouldn't have batted an eyelid with a horse having hooves that look like this. Aesthetically it's not exactly woah "shock-horror"... however, now that I have been through some training I can clearly see there are some issues with this foot.

Firstly, the solar view (the first photograph) - now as I cannot accurately tell you which side was the medial or lateral because I don't 100% no if it is a left or a right leg... I am just going to refer to it as left and right side.

So the frog was significantly - shrivelled?

The heels were exceptionally high and the sole was proud to the hoof wall in places - particularly on the right where the stretch and the white line disease has occurred. When I cleaned this up the toe was bruised which is a further indicator of inflammation.

In the middle photograph you can see how upright the wall is, the hair line is on a steep angle indicative of a taut coronet band. The dorsal wall doesn't follow the angle of the pastern in general, and in the last picture you can see evidence of a bull nose. The heels are at a completely different angle to the dorsal wall, and the bulbs of the hoof seem flaccid and not big and bouncy looking as we would like.

After photos... I made some mistakes on this one; as I didn't quite realise at this point just how bad the pathology was in this foot.

Solar view: I thought the wall height was tall however it wasn't over grown further than the sole if that makes sense? As in there was nothing to nipper, the medial/lateral and dorsal/palmar balance was all over the place. The plane of the toe was higher than at the heels, but the heels were also extraordinarily tall... plus the added confusion of the sole being proud in places. As soon as I swiped my rasp over to begin to balance, I was making dramatic etch marks into the sole. Which we never want to do ideally, we just want to take any exfoliating sole and leave it alone! In this case there was no exfoliating sole and I felt like all my landmarks were all over the place and I felt at a loss with this one!

The bars were fairly benti, but albeit they were there and were like rock to get through! From this I came to the conclusion that there was an acceleration of growth in this heel area. But the frog was not gaining any stimulation as it looked like a ran over toad. So what the hell was happening internally within?

Let me refer you back to this diagram courtesy of Richard Vialls - cofounder and tutor at EP Training Ltd.

Now, if you aren't familiar with this diagram already - then please do go back to the first blog "Trimming in Anglesey, Wales - Cadaver 1" you can find it in the drop down menu of my blog, under "Hoof Care".

It explains what this diagram is illustrating - but for a whistle stop explanation: its the measurements we took to measure the angle at which the pedal bone was sitting at within the hoof capsule. We had to use a saw to chop the foot up in certain places so that Richard could take measurements in order to calculate if we were within our 3-5 degree threshold.

For this foot we wasn't! We were at -2 degrees! No wonder I found this really difficult to balance. More alarmingly take a look at these next two photographs - **warning gore alert and it will probably turn your stomach!**

So the first photo is a saw cut through the hoof I've just trimmed (cadaver 2) - in relation to the hoof wall thickness the sole is considerably thinner however, it's not the worst I seen on the day....

This next one probably is... and it is the sister cadaver to this one (in other words it's the same horse... just the opposite leg - and this is scary!)

How thin is that sole?!!!!!!

So from the offset you would assume this horse would have ok soles - the hoof didn't look like the worst thing you have ever seen; did it? Well internally this horse was very, very poorly.

Essentially what has happened is that the toe (dorsal) part of the pedal bone is pointing upwards whilst the palmar aspect (back of the pedal bone) is pointing downwards. Best analogy I can give you; is you walking around just on your heels with your toes pointing towards the sky. Really uncomfortable! And a horse cannot move around like that! It completely misaligns the bony column above (including the navicular bone), places significant forces and tension through the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the limb (which then will then affect the rest of the body).

I assume this rotation also starved the blood supply which explains why the frog was so shrivelled despite the over engagement on the the back third of the foot. This thirst of blood supply would also affect all of the corium, the digital cushion, the lateral cartilages - you name it, it has negatively affected this horse.

So no, I didn't and couldn't physically balance this one - so it sat at -2 AFTER I trimmed it, imagine what it was sitting at BEFORE?

Really sad ending for this horse - it leaves me feeling really heavy in the heart and mind. It was all avoidable and this is what I keep seeing time and time again.

I know this is gory... but people NEED to see this sort of thing, and stop selecting what they want to see because it doesn't fit in with their personal agenda.

I hope this is educational, and will help you through your horse ownership journey; so you can be proactive in your management - to avoid this prognosis for your horse.

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