Case Study - Lame Quarterhorse
An adult quarter horse gelding was presented to the clinic due to a chronic history of lameness. His pain was previously isolated to the near side front foot through an abaxial sesamoid nerve block. On this day he presented 3/5 lame on the near forelimb. He had a positive response to hoof testers and had a minor digital pulse on palpation. The horse had previously worn 2 front shoes but was currently unshod.
Radiographs were taken of both fore feet. The lateral radiographs showed the soles of the near side fore feet were very thin, measuring 0.6 cm deep. No other abnormalities were detected.
Thin soles usually occur due to the genetics of the horse, more commonly reported in breeds such as Quarter Horses, Appaloosas and Thoroughbreds. Environment also plays a role, particularly wet conditions which can lead to excessive exfoliation of the sole. Horses with thin soles are predisposed to bruising and recurrent hoof abscesses, leading to lameness.
Shoeing of all four feet was recommended for this case. A heart bar shoe with a sole pack was applied by the farrier. A follow up examination was recommended after 2 shoeing cycles to reassess the sole depth. The owner reported that the lameness had resolved shortly after the corrective shoes were placed.
Figure: A lateromedial radiograph of the near side front hoof. The sole depth was measured to be 0.6 cm