Hot Topics in Hoof Care, Part 3: The Role of Imaging

Find out how veterinarians and farriers rely on imaging to evaluate the horse’s hoof.

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Hot Topics in Hoof Care: The Role of Imaging
Careful preparation and proper foot positioning are critical to producing high-quality foot radiographs. | Photo: Kevin Thompson/The Horse

Podiatry and managing problem hooves require the veterinarian and farrier to work in concert to diagnose, trim, and shoe, depending on the condition. Both individuals rely on imaging to evaluate the horse’s hoof, said Mark Silverman, DVM, MS, of Sport Horse Veterinary Services, in Rancho Santa Fe, California, who described the uses and benefits of different imaging modalities.

“Routine imaging provides us the ability to review the results of interventions and chart changes in foot conformation over time,” he said.

Radiography is, as Silverman said, the “bread and butter” of podiatry imaging. X rays show the foot’s internal structures, especially bone, as well as some soft-tissue structures. The basic foot views, which are often standard for prepurchase exams, include dorsal-to-palmar (front-to-back) and lateral-to-medial (side-to-middle)

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Written by:

Michelle Anderson is the former digital managing editor at The Horse. A lifelong horse owner, Anderson competes in dressage and enjoys trail riding. She’s a Washington State University graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in communications with a minor in business administration and extensive coursework in animal sciences. She has worked in equine publishing since 1998. She currently lives with her husband on a small horse property in Central Oregon.

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