Venograms and Laminitis

What is a venogram, and how is it used to help diagnose laminitis?

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A venogram is a special kind of X ray veterinarians can use to evaluate the blood supply to a foot. | Photo: Courtesy Dr. Britta Leise
Q. What is a venogram and how is it used to help diagnose laminitis?

Amy, Houston, Texas


A. In an X ray we can see the coffin bone and other bony structures within the foot capsule, but we can’t really get a good look at the soft-tissue structures, including ligaments and vessels. A venogram is also an X ray, but we place a tourniquet on the leg inject a dye into the vein that feeds the foot. That dye moves into the structures of the foot around the coffin bone and the vessels that feed the laminae (blood flow to the laminae is compromised during laminitis) and, in the image, shows up bright white. It can give us an indication of where there’s leakage of blood in the hoof capsule or maybe limited blood supply

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Bryan Fraley, DVM, is an equine foot specialist and farrier who operates Fraley Equine Podiatry, an affiliate of Hagyard Equine Medical Institute in Lexington, Ky. He started shoeing at age 15 and graduated from Colorado State University’s veterinary school in 2004. He frequently treats laminitic horses but is also often dispatched to help show- and racehorses with foot pain. Fraley works closely with farriers nationally and internationally to tackle their most difficult cases.

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