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Immediate effects of an artificial change in hoof angulation on the dorsal metacarpophalangeal joint angle and cross-sectional areas of both flexor tendons

Abstract

Corrective shoeing is used to change hoof angulation with the intention to influence the angulation of the digital joints to reduce strain on associated tendons. The objective of this study is to examine how gradual changes in hoof angulation affect the dorsal metacarpophalangeal joint (DMPJ) angulation and cross-sectional areas (CSAs) of the deep digital flexor tendon (DDFT) and superficial digital flexor tendon (SDFT) concerning the individual toe conformation. Forelimbs of 30 horses were examined barefoot and equipped with 5°, 10° and 20° toe wedges (TWs) and heel wedges (HWs). Phalangeal angulation and lengths were measured in lateromedial radiographs of the digit. CSAs of both flexor tendons was calculated in sonographic images. Significant effects on the DMPJ and CSA of the DDFT/SDFT were measured with 10° and 20° HWs or 20° TWs. Both flexor tendons showed increasing CSA after heel elevation. Significant interindividual variations occurred. Phalangeal angulation and length influenced the responsivity of the parameters to a changed hoof angulation. Significant impact of corrective shoeing on the DMPJ and flexor tendons is related to a distinct change in hoof orientation and varies with individual toe conformation. Similar response of the DDFT and SDFT to raised and lowered hoof orientation needs further investigation for a more specific application of therapeutic shoeing.

  • horse
  • hoof angulation
  • metacarpophalangeal joint angulation
  • superficial digital flexor tendon
  • deep digital flexor tendon
  • cross-sectional area

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