Poll Recap: Radiographs for Horse Hoof Care

Of the 359 respondents, 101 (28%) said their hoof care professionals use radiographs to help inform how they trim and/or shoe their horses.

Photo: Erica Larson, News Editor

Does your hoof care professional use radiographs (X rays) taken by your veterinarian to inform how he or she trims and/or shoes your horse? We posed this question to our readers in last week’s online poll. More than 350 people responded, and we’ve tallied the results.

Of the 359 respondents, 101 people (28%) said their hoof care professionals do use radiographs taken by a veterinarian to help inform how they trim and/or shoe the horses. Another 225 people (63%) said their hoof care professional does not use radiographs, and the remaining 33 respondents (9%) said they do not use a hoof care professional.

Additionally, more than 60 people shared comments about whether or not their hoof care professional uses radiographs.

Several people commented that their hoof care professional has used radiographs to make informed decisions about trimming and shoeing:

  • “After a laminitic episode, yes, but his feet are in better shape now, so not as much.”
  • “Dealing with a laminitic horse, X-rays every 4 weeks”
  • “My horse has foundered so he gets radiographs yearly and the farrier was one recommended by my vet.”
  • “My horse has navicular and we use corrective shoeing to ensure proper treatment. 6 months usually.”
  • “Not for all my horses, but for horses that have foot issues, absolutely.”
  • “Farrier uses X rays when there is a problem.”
  • “My senior OTTB has thin soles. Using X rays every 6 months to give my farrier more knowledge on trim.”
  • “When my trimmer found unusual bruising pattern, he had me get X-rays.”
  • “On a mare prone to laminitis, every 6 months.”
  • “Annually to biannually”
  • “Yes, had the vet and farrier out together taking and reviewing X rays”
  • “Yes, once a year or every other year.”
  • “Yes, when I first got my horse to make sure she was trimmed correctly.”
  • “To see if anything changed inside the hoof. The horse has been foundered and has a thin sole.”
  • “Twice a year to catch any changes early”
  • “Yes, we have X rays of the horses’ feet performed yearly to assist the farrier.”
  • “We take them every few years just to check to make sure it's all still good.”
  • “Depends on the horse. If corrective shoeing is involved, absolutely.”
  • “My farrier used X rays to help my mare with a club foot. We took X rays once a year.”
  • “We are treating white line disease and X rays help correctly align the shoe.” 


Some respondents said their hoof care professional does not use radiographs for their horses:

  • “My farrier has never asked for radiographs.”
  • “Not for my group, but he has done so for other clients.”
  • “All their feet are normal, so we don't need X rays; would be different for laminitis or serious club foot.”
  • “As no hoof problems, radiographs are not needed. If there was a problem then yes they would be used.”
  • “No, our farrier does not need X rays to trim our horses.”


And others left general comments:   

  • “No hoof problems. Both (horses are) barefoot and have wonderful hooves.”
  • “He does not require updated radiographs after the original ones has there have been no changes.”
  • “Excellent farrier, but I live in rural area radiography not easily available.”
  • “My two Arabians each have issues-are barefoot, farrier consulting w/vet on best treatment.”
  • “Only when there is a problem within the hoof or leg, otherwise not needed.”
  • “When X rays are done for an issue, our vet will make an extra copy for farrier with suggestions.”


You can find additional information on hoof radiographs for horses, how veterinarians and farriers use imaging modalities to diagnose, trim, and shoe problem hooves, learn more about foot pain in horses, and more at TheHorse.com!

This week, we want to know: what horse health issue doe you find most challenging during the summer months? Vote now and share your comments at TheHorse.com/polls

The results of our weekly polls are published in The Horse Health E-Newsletter, which offers news on diseases, veterinary research, health events, and in-depth articles on common equine health conditions and what you can do to recognize, avoid, or treat them. Sign up for our e-newsletters on our homepage and look for a new poll on TheHorse.com.

About the Author

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer

Jennifer Whittle, TheHorse.com Web Producer, is a lifelong horse owner who competes with her Appaloosas in Western performance events. She is a University of Kentucky graduate and holds a bachelor’s degree in Community Communications and Leadership Development, and master's degree in Career, Technical, and Leadership Education. She currently lives on a small farm in Lawrenceburg, Kentucky.

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