When it comes to managing horses that suffer from chronic foot pain—such as those with navicular disease or coffin bone fractures—sometimes conservative therapies just aren’t enough. In these cases veterinarians often opt to perform a palmar or plantar digital neurectomy (PDN), which involves surgically cutting the nerve in the low pastern area. However, some horses that undergo this procedure experience complications such as painful neuromas (an accumulation of fibrous scar tissue mixed with nerve tissue at the incision site) or residual lameness.

With this in mind, Santiago Gutierrez-Nibeyro, DVM, MS, Dipl. ACVS, an equine surgeon at the University of Illinois Veterinary Teaching Hospital, in Urbana, recently took a closer look at what might cause a poor outcome following a PDN. He presented his study results at the 2014 American Association of Equine Practitioners Convention, held Dec. 6-10 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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