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Management Considerations

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The Horse's Feet

If we know that degenerative foot conditions, for example, navicular disease, are associated with poor blood flow then we could start to make more informed choices about the management of an individual horse if it presented with an apparently poor blood supply. With good information and feedback we can make the right choices for the individual horse and perhaps succesfully engage in preventative measures that might lengthen the lifespan of our horses and prevent chronic degenerative disease.

Fronts - at rest

 

infected foot

 

Hinds - at rest

 

four very different feet

 

Cause for concern?

These images belong to a horse that is difficult to keep shoes on because the feet readily break up.

It would be fair to say that there is a radically reduced amount of blood flow relative to the blood flow in the lower leg.

Even after exercise (below) the increase of blood flow to the feet is not significant; as reflected in the heat shown at the coronet band relative to the lower leg.

Fronts - post exercise

 

infected foot

 

 

Hinds - post exercise

 

four very different feet

 

 

Preventative Measures.

Perhaps we would consider:

  • opting for making the transition to going barefoot
  • use techniques that may help increase blood flow to the foot
  • increase the amount of daily movement, ie turnout
  • decrease the amount of standing in the stable 

 

 

Did you know that the horse's heart is small relative to its overall size and that the circulatory system is reliant upon the pumping mechansims inside the foot to support the movement of blood?

Equine Thermography

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