X-rays Can Help while Trimming Horse's Hooves

February 18, 2005 (published) | June 30, 2014 (revised)

Other than wild horses, most domestic horses need their feet trimmed every 6 to 8 weeks depending on their use and environment. Wild horses that walk many miles per day to graze usually wear their hooves down and do not require trimming. Domestic horses spend most of their time standing around and consequently require trimming. Most trained farriers can do a good job at trimming the feet of most horses unless other conditions develop, such as founder or navicular disease. In these instances, x-rays can be extremely helpful in trimming the foot because you can determine the bone's location. Many horses also have low heels and long toes, and solving this problem can be greatly aided by using x-rays to determine where the bone is. Regardless of your farrier's experience, they cannot see inside the horse's hoof to know how much they can trim the toe without causing damage to the foot and possible lameness.

Owners report that many of their horses trip from time to time when galloping, and often the tripping is related to angles of the feet and long toes. By using x-rays and working with a farrier, the toes can be trimmed back as far as possible, and if necessary, the hoof can be realigned to change the hoof angle. Many times this is all that is required to help these horses perform better. X-rays are critical for horses that have foundered; foundered horses cannot be correctly trimmed without x-rays because the bone in the hoof has changed position and the farrier cannot determine its location. These hooves must be realigned and that is impossible without x-rays. There are several other conditions in which using x-rays of the hoof can really help your farrier do a better job and help your horse's performance improve.

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