Managing Foot Casts on Horses with Chronic Laminitis

Complicated laminitis cases carry a poor prognosis, but some have responded to treatment with foot casts.
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Veterinarians use casts to help stabilize and treat a variety of equine foot and leg disorders, from lower limb injuries to severe foot infections to chronic laminitis cases. The latter condition, however, is one of the most challenging to treat—when the leaflike laminar tissues that suspend the coffin bone inside the hoof wall detach, allowing the bone to displace and rotate.

Vernon Dryden, DVM, CJF, APF, of Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital, in Lexington, Ky., has had success treating complicated laminitis cases with foot casts, and he discussed proper cast management at the 2013 International Equine Conference on Laminitis and Diseases of the Foot, held Nov. 1-3 in West Palm Beach, Fla.

"Chronic laminitis cases with distal displacement of the pedal (coffin) bone, or ‘sinkers,’ are very difficult and carry a poor prognosis," Dryden began. "Foot casts have been shown to be effective in aiding the rehabilitation of these cases

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Alexandra Beckstett, a native of Houston, Texas, is a lifelong horse owner who has shown successfully on the national hunter/jumper circuit and dabbled in hunter breeding. After graduating from Duke University, she joined Blood-Horse Publications as assistant editor of its book division, Eclipse Press, before joining The Horse. She was the managing editor of The Horse for nearly 14 years and is now editorial director of EquiManagement and My New Horse, sister publications of The Horse.

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