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Equine Vet J. 1999 Sep;31(5):427-32.

Radiological measurements from the feet of normal horses with relevance to laminitis.

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Department of Veterinary Clinical Science and Animal Husbandry, University of Liverpool, South Wirral, UK.


Lateromedial radiographic projections were made from the feet of 25 normal horses and 3 angles and 3 distances were measured. From these, normal ranges of calculated variables were obtained. The width and length of each foot and the height of the horse at the withers was also measured. In view of its possible importance in clinical laminitis, particular attention was paid to 'founder' distance (D). This is the vertical distance between the proximal limit of the dorsal hoof wall and the proximal limit of the extensor process of the distal phalanx. There were significant differences between breeds in D (P<0.05) and in wall thickness (P<0.01). Further studies investigated the effects of time, differing radiographic projections and different operators on D. D did not alter significantly (P>0.05) over a 6 week study period. It was concluded that errors due to radiographic beam obliquity were not of practical importance. Errors in measuring D between operators can be minimised by use of a standard radiographic technique. Although there was some variation in the value of D measured over time and with different operators, which could make the interpretation of early or subtle changes difficult, measurement variation was not considered to interfere with the assessment of large changes associated with severe laminitis.

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