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Therapeutic Shoes for Hyperextension Foals

Written March 2014 by R.F. (Ric) Redden, DVM

I devised a new concept a few years ago that sorts out foals with weak flexors.

      

This foal with weak flexors (left) was treated with the bungee concept described below.
The photo on the right was taken one week after application of the bungee and therapeutic shoe.

Most foals will only be weak in one limb. However, if the case is bilateral, a shoe on each foot is indicated.


      

Add a piece of 3mm (1/8") aluminum to the bottom of the Dalric heel extension shoe.
Use a clip up front to take load off the rivets and add a leather or nylon loop in the extended area.


Back the heel up to the widest part of the frog before gluing the Dalric shoe on with Equilox.


 

Bandage the leg using 50" of good, firm cotton wrap.  Select a bungee that will be compatible with the size of the foal.  Remove the hooks from the end of the bungee and run it through the loop of the shoe and up the back of the leg.  Pick the hind leg up by the hock when hind feet are involved. This will naturally flex the joint.  Then tape the end of the bungee to the upper portion of the bandage using 4" Elastikon.

You can also use a single bungee as shown above, or a piece of rubber inner tube as your elastic support.

Flexing the fetlock and coffin joint while taping the bungee in place offers just enough tension when you set them down. This creates a natural, elastic tendon response that offers good healing time for the exceptionally long flexor muscle. Where casts seem to weaken the muscle, the bungee appears to offer just enough support to allow it to strengthen. Normally most foals only wear the bungees for a few days with mild to moderate cases and the shoes for a couple of weeks. Those with long pasterns and weak flexors may require more time. Even very difficult cases have responded very well using this concept. Give it a good effort, and if you have any questions get back to me as I will be eager to help you and see your results.