Tufts Conference to Examine Risks and Benefits of Barefoot Hoofcare Methods

A unique seminar will be held at Tufts University May 4-5 to review the controversial barefoot hoof care methods put forth by German veterinarian and author Hiltrud Strasser, DVM.

In England, concern about harm to horses by Strasser devotees has resulted in public warnings from the International League for the Protection of Horses, Farriers Registration Council, Worshipful Company of Farriers, Laminitis Trust, and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Recently, a horse was euthanized by a veterinary surgeon there to relieve suffering caused by overzealous "DIY" (do-it-yourself) hoof trimming by a Strasser follower.

Strasser has consistently denied charges that she promotes DIY hoofcare at her popular seminars, citing her formal Strasser Hoof Care Specialist training program designed to educate students in all aspects of her horse care program.

Many Strasser advocates say that traditional hoofcare methods can cause long-term damage and circulation loss in the horse's foot, and that the pain and abscesses caused by Strasser trimming methods is a positive result signifying return of circulation to damaged structures.

Tuft's School of Veterinary Medicine's Hospital for Large Animals in North Grafton, Mass., and the Tufts Center for Animals and Public Policy will host the public forum. A panel of veterinarians and farriers, chaired by Carl Kirker-Head, MA, VetMB, MRCVS, will discuss and evaluate information presented at the symposium by Strasser.

By examining options and participating in open discussions, veterinarians, farriers, owners, and trainers will strive to "debunk the myths" of traditional and alternative hoof care, and present workable, intelligent methods of diagnosing, treating, and maintaining the equine hoof. Special emphasis will be placed on navicular disease and laminitis.

Tufts' Center for Animals and Public Policy is a leading institute for the study of animal welfare, and has been involved in key studies related to the public's perceptions of cruelty to animals in different situations.

For registration information, please contact Susan Brogan at the Tufts University College of Veterinary Medicine, Office of Continuing Education/Conference Planning: 508/887-4723; fax 508/887-4539; e-mail susan.brogan@tufts.edu; or visit www.tufts.edu/vet/continedu/index.html.

About the Author

Fran Jurga

Fran Jurga is the publisher of Hoofcare & Lameness, The Journal of Equine Foot Science, based in Gloucester, Mass., and Hoofcare Online, an electronic newsletter accessible at www.hoofcare.com. Her work also includes promoting lameness-related research and information for practical use by farriers, veterinarians, and horse owners. Jurga authored Understanding The Equine Foot, published by Eclipse Press and available at www.exclusivelyequine.com or by calling 800/582-5604.

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