A novel surgical approach to the distal interphalangeal joint of cattle, through the abaxial hoof wall, for the treatment of septic arthritis is described. In seven cattle a rectangular piece of horn (15 × 40 mm) was excised from the abaxial hoof wall and the joint was lavaged with Ringer's solution. Infected and/or necrotic tissue was removed from the joint and gentamicin-impregnated collagen sponges were introduced. The piece of horn was reattached, a rubber block was glued to the contralateral claw, and a bandage applied. Aftercare consisted of changes of bandage, systemic administration of antimicrobial drugs and box rest. At follow-up, six of the cattle were sound but one cow which had been slaughtered five months after surgery had remained slightly lame.