Protecting the Elbow From the Shoe

Q.I'm desperate to find some way to prevent my 20-year-old Thoroughbred mare from cutting her elbow on her egg-bar shoe when lying down. She has been wearing egg-bars on her front feet to give her a little extra support since she pulled her front right suspensory for the second time. The egg-bars themselves seem to be fine; she is going great in them, jumping small jumps, and primarily doing dressage.

My problem is that she is cutting her left elbow on the egg-bar, probably when she gets up from lying down. She has nicked the right elbow a couple of times, but cuts the left elbow quite seriously. The first time, the injury required two sets of staples, then a set of stitches, all of which kept getting ripped out. We finally let the wound stay open and eventually heal on its own. However, she's cut the elbow open twice since then.

I got a boil-boot, which she wears when not being handled, but she is still cutting herself. She cut herself for the first time shortly after she was shod with the egg-bars, so I'm sure that's what the cause is. For a brief time, my farrier put regular shoes on her and just set them back a little bit to see if that would stop the cutting of her elbow. She still managed to cut her elbow.

Can you suggest anything I can use to cover or somehow pad the back of the egg-bar so that when she lies down, she doesn't cut herself?


A. I would urge you to try oversized bell boots on this horse. You could start with the inexpensive pull-ons--if that is not enough, I would try the thicker, stiffer, softer types like Professional's Choice Velcro
wrap-arounds or maybe even the no-turn types, depending on the shape of the foot. That ought to help in most instances. And you could combine bell boots with the boil boot if necessary.         Kit Bosse, DVM; Crozier, Va.


A. It would be rare for the elbow to be lacerated while lying down or getting up. I have seen cases where long-pastern Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds have lacerated the elbow while galloping--these are clean, horizontal cuts. This problem is easily solved by simply applying a snug run-down type bandage in a figure eight over the fetlock for riding. This limits the flexibility of the joint and prevents the contact. If she is lying on the shoe, a doughnut will protect it nicely. They can be found in most Thoroughbred tack shops.

Another note: If she has suspensory problems, a low-profile rocker four-point shoe would offer as much or more mechanical advantage than the egg-bar and reduce the excessive load on the heel tubules.        Ric Redden, DVM; Versailles, Ky.

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