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Radiographic measurements of the hooves of normal ponies

Thieme, Katharina, Ehrle, Anna, Lischer, Christoph
The veterinary journal 2015 v.206 no.3 pp. 332-337
adults, databases, feet, hooves, horses, lameness, normal values, radiography, regression analysis, veterinarians, withers
Knowledge of the normal radiographic anatomy of the equine foot and the relationship between the distal phalanx and the hoof capsule is imperative for objective assessment of hoof health. Little information is available for the hooves of ponies. The aim of this study was to establish a database of reference values for normal ponies and to investigate the relationship between the height at the withers and radiographic measurements of the hooves. Radiographic examinations were performed on 81 ponies, ranging from 81.5 to 148.0 cm height at the withers, immediately after foot trimming. Eighteen parameters were measured in the lateromedial view (front and hind feet) and 13 parameters were measured in the dorsopalmar view (front feet). Most linear measurements had a strong positive correlation with the height at the withers. The influence of height on angular measurements was weak. A linear regression model was adopted to enable calculation of reference values for a defined height at the withers. Left feet were longer in 72% of front feet and 67% of hind feet. The medial part of the hoof was more upright generally, but the medial hoof wall was shorter only in the right front feet. The front feet tended to be more upright than the hind feet. Compared to height at the withers, the hooves of ponies were relatively larger than the hooves of adult Warmblood horses investigated in a comparable study. The present study provides a database for farriers and veterinarians for hoof conformation, on the basis of which hoof preparation and an accurate diagnosis of lameness can be made.