Horse Side Vet Guide ®

Equine Health Resource

Radiography, X-ray, Foot

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Radiographs of the equine foot or feet are a standard diagnostic used for hoof or foot related problems and in lameness exams, because a high percentage of lameness originates in this area.

Foot radiographs are usually taken after nerve or joint blocks are performed. The soles and frogs are lightly trimmed and cleaned up with a hoof knife, and any defects are packed with putty to prevent an artifact (visual misrepresentations). Typically, in this series five radiographs of each foot are taken from different angles, and more if needed.

Benefits

High quality radiographs of the feet provide important information about the bones in the lower limb, the position of the coffin bone within the hoof and some helpful information regarding soft tissue structures. Even if there are no obvious issues in this area at the time, radiographs may provide a useful baseline for future comparison.

Limitations

This diagnostic only has very limited ability to show the intricate and vital soft tissue structures of the foot and support structures of the joints. Poor preparation of the sole or frog may introduce artifact (visual misrepresentations due to a variety of conditions and errors), which decreases the quality of the radiographs and their diagnostic value.

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Author: Doug Thal DVM Dipl. ABVP

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