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Equine Health Resource

Pedal Osteitis, Marginal Fractures Coffin Bone

This is a poorly defined syndrome that is currently being redefined, especially with the increased use of MRI for hoof lameness diagnosis. The term suggests inflammation of the pedal or coffin bone.

Historically, the diagnosis has referred to changes seen on radiographs, of bone loss and small fractures around the rim of the bone. We do see these changes in the bone associated with recurrent bruising and conformation abnormalities of the hoof, especially club foot. It is also seen in horses with laminitis and rotation of the coffin bone.

So this is really more a sign of recurrent trauma to the coffin bone than a true inflammatory condition of the bone. The signs associated with this condition are seen more frequently in the front limbs than hind limbs. Lameness is usually mild to moderate and present in both front limbs. In its mildest form, horses can completely recover rapidly. At the opposite extreme are horses that are persistently or recurrently lame.


  • What is the latest research on this syndrome?

    Choose horses with good hoof conformation. Good hoof care (with protection of soles when necessary), depending upon use. Do not allow recurrent bruising and foot soreness without treating it.

    Treat underlying disorders like laminitis, and protect the coffin bone with shoeing to prevent recurrent damage.

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    Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP


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