A unique seminar will be held at Tufts University May 4-5 to review the controversial barefoot hoof care methods put forth by German veterinarian and author Hiltrud Strasser, DVM.

In England, concern about harm to horses by Strasser devotees has resulted in public warnings from the International League for the Protection of Horses, Farriers Registration Council, Worshipful Company of Farriers, Laminitis Trust, and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Recently, a horse was euthanized by a veterinary surgeon there to relieve suffering caused by overzealous “DIY” (do-it-yourself) hoof trimming by a Strasser follower.

Strasser has consistently denied charges that she promotes DIY hoofcare at her popular seminars, citing her formal Strasser Hoof Care Specialist training program designed to educate students in all aspects of her horse care program.

Many Strasser advocates say that traditional hoofcare methods can cause long-term damage and circulation loss in the horse’s foot, and that the pain and abscesses caused by Strasser trimming methods is a positive result signifying return of circulation to damaged structures.

Tuft’s School of Veterinary Medicine’s Hospital for Large Animals in North Grafton, Mass., and the Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy will host the public forum. A panel of veterinarians and farriers, chaired by Carl Kirker-Head, MA, VetMB, MRCVS, will discuss and evaluate information presented at the symposium by Strasser.

By examining options and participating in open discussions, veterinarians, farriers, owners, and trainers will strive to “debunk the myths” of traditional and alternative hoof care, and present workable, intelligent methods of diagnosing, treating, and maintaining the equine hoof. Special emphasis will be placed on navicular disease and laminitis.

Tufts’ Center for Animals and Public Policy is a leadi