James A. Orsini
The Big Picture in Better Understanding the Equine Foot 521
James A. Orsini
The multiple topics summarized in this article and discussed in detail in this issue of VCNA are comprehensive and in-depth, exploring concepts and clinical experiences for state-of-the-art care of the equine foot. The research on the equine foot will translate to the clinical setting and with this the compassionate care of the horse.
Anatomy and Physiology of the Equine Foot 529
Mathew P. Gerard
This article provides an overview of foot anatomy and physiology, with a focus on fundamental knowledge. The foot is defined as the epidermal hoof capsule and all structures enveloped by the capsule. The anatomy is described using terminology published in Nomina Anatomica Veterinaria.
Pharmacology of the Equine Foot: Medical Pain Management for Laminitis 549
Klaus Hopster and Bernd Driessen
One of the biggest challenges in managing laminitis in horses remains the control of pain. The best analgesic approach is a multimodal approach, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, opioids, and/or constant rate infusions of α-2 agonists, ketamine, and lidocaine. Recent literature indicates that amitriptyline and soluble epoxide hydrolase inhibitor might be beneficial. Clinically oriented studies will be needed if they have a place in laminitis pain management. The systemic pain control can be combined with local techniques such as long-acting local anesthetics or epidural catheterization that allows for administration of potent analgesic therapy with a lower risk of negative side effects.
Imaging the Equine Foot 563
Over the past half decade, advancements in diagnostic imaging technology have led to improvement of radiographic technique and development of standing computed tomography (CT) and PET-CT scanners. Although these modalities are in their initial stages of development and clinical applications, they are meant to revolutionize the diagnosis and management of diseases of the foot in the standing patient, in particular detecting subclinical lesions, and the establishment of computer-assisted surgical suits. This article also reviews the improved radiographic projections of the equine foot and benefits of high-field and contrast magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) in diagnosis of cartilage and ligamentous pathologies.
Mechanical Principles of the Equine Foot 581
Raul Bras and Scott Morrison
A healthy foot requires a well-balanced foot capable of shock absorption, traction, and normal proprioception. Radiographs and venograms are helpful in assessing health of the external and internal structures of the foot and in early diagnosis. Other techniques to assess foot mechanics include force plate and inertial sensors. When foot pathology ensues such as laminitis, early recognition and emergency mechanical treatment can improve prognosis and overall outcome. Sheared heels, under-run heels, and clubfeet are common problems that need to be corrected early. Successful management and results require the veterinarians and farriers establishing a professional, collaborative, and respectful relationship.
Endocrinopathic Laminitis 619
Nora S. Grenager
Endocrinopathic laminitis (EL) primarily occurs because of insulin dysregulation (ID) mediated through downstream effects of insulin on IGF-1R in lamellar tissues. There is likely contributing vascular and metabolic dysfunction within the lamellae, but EL is relatively non-inflammatory. EL is associated with lamellar stretching, proliferation, and failure, ultimately causing failure of the suspensory apparatus of the distal phalanx. Proper education regarding mitigating risk factors makes this a largely preventable cause of laminitis. Annual hoof evaluation plus screening geriatric horses for pituitary pars intermedia dysfunction and ID, and younger horses for ID, can significantly decrease the incidence of this devastating condition.
Laminitis Updates: Sepsis/Systemic Inflammatory Response Syndrome–Associated Laminitis 639
Britta Sigrid Leise and Lee Ann Fugler
Sepsis or systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) -associated laminitis is a sequela to primary inflammatory conditions (eg, colitis, ischemic intestinal injury, pneumonia, metritis) and results from a dysregulated systemic inflammatory response that ultimately affects the digital lamellae. Local chemokine production, leukocyte migration, and proinflammatory mediator production occur within the lamellae that can lead to catastrophic lamellar failure. Controlling the primary disease, providing supportive care and anti-inflammatory therapy, applying digital cryotherapy, and providing mechanical support are cornerstones to the prevention of sepsis/SIRS-associated laminitis. Novel therapies targeting specific signaling pathways may provide additional therapeutic options in the future.
Supporting Limb Laminitis 657
Andrew van Eps, Julie Engiles, and Hannah Galantino-Homer
Supporting limb laminitis (SLL) is a relatively frequent complication of painful limb conditions that alter normal weight-bearing patterns in horses. New evidence suggests that a lack of limb load cycling activity (normally associated with ambulation) interferes with normal perfusion of the lamellae in these cases, resulting in ischemia and dysfunction/death of cells critical to the mechanical function of the lamellae. Excessive weight-bearing load drives the progression to overt acute laminitis in the supporting limb. Monitoring and enhancement of limb load cycling activity are key strategies that may lead to successful prevention of SLL by ensuring adequate lamellar perfusion.
“Feeding the Foot”: Nutritional Influences on Equine Hoof Health 669
Teresa A. Burns
Nutrition plays an important role in equine health, including that of the foot. Deficiencies and excesses of dietary components can affect the growth and function of the foot and have been associated with important podiatric diseases. The recognition, prevention, and treatment of specific notable nutritional diseases of the foot are discussed, as well as information regarding specific ingredients included in supplements meant to improve equine hoof quality. Ensuring provision of a balanced diet, maintaining horses in appropriate body condition, and seeking guidance from an equine nutritionist when creating dietary recommendations will prevent most equine foot disease related to nutrition.
Cryotherapy Techniques: Best Protocols to Support the Foot in Health and Disease 685
Treatment of equine laminitis continues to be a challenge despite recent advancements in knowledge of the pathophysiology of laminitis. With more evidence supporting its use, distal limb hypothermia or cryotherapy has become a standard of care for both prevention of laminitis and treatment of the early stages of acute laminitis. Recent studies have demonstrated that cryotherapy reduces the severity of sepsis-related laminitis and hyperinsulinemic laminitis in experimental models and reduces the incidence of laminitis in clinical colitis cases. This article reviews the recent literature supporting the use of distal limb cryotherapy in horses.
Other Clinical Problems of the Equine Foot 695
Anton E. Fürst and Christoph J. Lischer
Many disorders affect the equine foot, and many hoof problems have multiple predisposing causes. Surgery may be necessary after conservative management has failed. Diseases of the hoof capsule may seem simple, but their effect on performance can be long-lasting and healing is often prolonged. Diagnosis of problems within the hoof capsule is enhanced with the use of computed tomography and MRI. The prognosis of fractures has improved with strategic placement of lag screws across fracture planes using aiming devices and advanced intraoperative imaging techniques. Collaboration between the clinician and a skilled farrier is important for successful management of hoof disorders.