How to Address a Fractured Coffin Bone

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Source: Vettec Animal Health

The coffin bone, also known as the pedal bone or the distal phalanx, is the bottommost bone within a horse’s leg, similar to the tip of a human finger. Although uncommon, coffin bone injuries are both serious and dangerous as the hoof capsule is shaped around this particular bone. To maintain horse health, it is important to provide proper hoof care and take action if a horse develops a coffin bone injury.

Identifying a Coffin Bone Fracture

Coffin bone fractures are likely caused by a traumatic injury to the outside of the hoof wall. This type of fracture can result from something as simple as a horse stepping on a rock, hitting a fence, or applying too much weight on a single foot.

Sudden lameness after physical activity is a major indication of a coffin bone fracture. However, lameness can vary from moderate to severe based on the location of the fracture. Other common symptoms to look for include excessive limping, unequal distribution of weight, and an accelerated pulse.

Typically, veterinarians use radiographs (x-rays) when diagnosing a coffin bone injury. It is essential to take a minimum of five views from different angles to best evaluate the injury. These tools help determine the location and severity of the fracture, so hoof care professionals can establish a proper treatment plan. As a porous bone, this injury generally heals after 12 weeks of treatment.

For more information on identification and treatment of a coffin bone injury, please visit the Vettec website.

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