Hoof Care

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Regenerative medicine covers a suite of different technologies that enhance the horse’s natural healing process and help them heal faster. Equine veterinarians have been using regenerative medicine for the past decade to treat joint disease and soft tissue injuries; however, it’s new to many horse owners and only equine veterinarians specializing in sports medicine tend to offer the technologies.

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The word laminitis elicits fear among horse owners because many associate it with the end of the horse’s career, and sometimes the horse’s life. Laminitis is a catastrophic syndrome that should always be treated as an emergency; however, recent research and new techniques used to treat this condition now make it possible to save horses that might have died. A diagnosis of laminitis is no longer a death sentence.

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The topic of having horses go barefoot vs. shod has been discussed at several American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Annual Conventions and always generates some very informative dialog while raising many important questions. I must say from the onset that I favour horses being maintained without shoes when possible, but it depends on multiple factors.

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We ask a lot of our four-legged friends as today’s horses compete throughout most of the year. Whatever the horse’s primary job — from dressage to trail riding and reining to show jumping, the feet are the most common source of lameness. With the advent of preventative drugs such as Legend®, Adequan®, and Pentosan EQ™ we can improve the longevity of our horses’ athletic use, but unfortunately injuries still occur.

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The importance of a good farrier is well understood by knowledgeable horse owners who reap the benefits of diligent, routine care. In this article, Certified Journeyman Farrier Sean Elliott provides some great tips for promoting hoof health and explains some pitfalls to avoid.

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Prevention is key to avoiding hoof issues - During her daily field visits to farms and acreages around the Saskatoon area, equine veterinary specialist Dr. Kate Robinson sees a wide range of hoof issues in horses – many of them preventable with a consistent daily hoof care regimen.

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Is your farrier certified with the American Farrier’s Association (AFA)? Did he or she serve an extensive apprenticeship at the beginning of their career? Does your farrier pursue additional education?

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