Equine Podiatry a Paradigm Shift

A paradigm shift is underway in the equine industry. The horse’s job has changed dramatically over the last century. Handling and training techniques have changed and new technology has overwhelmed the industry with all kinds of horse equipment and products including equine orthotics.

Horse shoeing is now entering a new phase in therapeutic or corrective hoof care as the veterinarian – farrier team approach makes use of modern technology. Veterinarians and farriers working together with the use of diagnostic equipment such as x-ray and MRI are able to manipulate internal structures of the hoof and monitor the resulting changes by x-ray and venogram as a stable healing environment is established.


The network of veterinarians and farriers confer with one another, sharing experiences and exchanging advice. Our primary goal is quality of life for the horse. Many horses were euthanized in the past because we didn’t know how to help them. Today, most horses treated in time can return to use.

Equine Podiatry requires a good working relationship between veterinarian, farrier, and horse owner. When the owner can understand and follow the work being done, they can make better decisions about the commitment needed.

Some therapeutic cases are more severe than others and require a stronger commitment tha a less severe case. Financial commitment, after care, and recovery time and commitment to a punctual maintenance program are the keys to a successful recovery. Financial commitment is a must. Each case is different. Some are severe and require expensive materials, orthotics, and diagnostic procedures including multiple x-rays. Other cases are less severe and do not require as much.

Veterinarians and farriers continue to make every effort to keep cost as low as possible but must have the freedom to diagnose such as multiple x-rays when needed. If you can’t afford it, don’t go there. Talk to your vet or farrier about more conventional shoeing techniques. Often the try and see method can be more costly than the direct approach. Many veterinarians and farriers will make payment arrangements. As the podiatry network grows, cost are greatly reduced by useing podiatry teams in your area, elimimating travel and lodging expences.

There are some veterinarians that are also excellent farriers and can handle many of these cases by themselves. Farriers that do not have a veterinary license are legally bound to doing podiatry work through and with a veterinarian. Many veterinarians and farriers operate their business as a sole propritorship and work alone. Podiatry is not conventional horse shoeing and both veterinarian and farrier must realize they are not in competition but need to work together as a team, including the horse owner and the network of experienced professionals that is available. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE HORSE.


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