SyncThermology Blog

Detecting Foot Pathology

Sunday, June 28, 2015  ‹ Back To Latest News List

Detecting Foot Pathology

This July we have focused our campaign on foot conditions and lameness. We screen many horses for non-specific and difficult to diagnose lameness, isolating potential deep foot pathology and warranting further investigation is something we do regularly at SyncEquine. Many veterinary practices refer cases for full body assessments to assist them with lameness investigation along with monitoring diagnosed foot conditions. 

Anatomically the foot is a complex structure with bones that need to be in correct alignment. There are tendons and ligaments that insert into these bones and exert various forces depending on what action is being taken. Even at rest there are areas of tension. There are joint capsules and joint surfaces that are potential sites for inflammation when problems develop. Bursae, fluid filled structures that prevent irritation to a tendon as it passes over a bone, are located throughout the body. There is one bursa in each foot along the back edge of the navicular bone. As with joints these bursae can become inflamed. Other non-joint related tissues that can account for foot pain are the laminae or interconnected "fingers" that are responsible for maintaining the coffin bone in position along the hoof wall. A foot lameness may involve more than one of these structures at a single time.  Many horses tolerate a large degree of foot imbalance, remain sound and are able to compete to a high level. Others are more sensitive, with a minimal discrepancy adversely affecting performance. An altered gait or change in performance may be one of the first things a horse owner will notice but isolating the problem can be difficult and expensive.

Our service is a test of physiology can will isolate areas of dysfunction, x-ray, ultrasound and MRI are all tests on anatomy and provide us with better information on structural problems. Thermography cannot see structure but unlike other diagnostics it provides a valuable window into the animal’s sympathetic nervous system and the body’s response to injury and disease.  When investigating lameness one or more diagnostic tests may be used, when using our service it is common to be referred for a structural image of the area to confirm our findings particularly when reviewing potential foot pathology. The benefit to using our screening service is that we can review the whole body for areas of abnormality and ensure we have as much information about the secondary problems that may be developing due to uneven gait and confusing the investigation. Our testing can give you an indication to the amount of discomfort the horse may be in and ensure that we are not overlooking what could be the primary pathology because the horse is displaying the lameness elsewhere. We stress test horses to ensure we achieve the most accurate results and reports are provided by Sync’s team of veterinary surgeons.

We can help to monitor a number of conditions in the feet such as laminitis, navicular syndrome, abscesses, and solar bruising. We work in conjunction with your farrier and under veterinary referral, if you have a suspicion regarding a foot condition or a complex lameness that may be related to the foot then get in touch for a free consultation. We have provided a 10% discount on full body imaging and screening relating to laminitis for July.