Equine Pedal Osteitis
Equine Pedal Osteitis occurs when the main supporting bone in the horse’s foot – the coffin bone (distal phalanx) becomes inflamed. The condition can be either septic or non-septic, depending on the cause of equine pedal osteitis. Non-septic equine pedal osteitis is manifested by inflammation or bruising of the coffin bone and septic equine pedal osteitis is apparent from an infected wound to the coffin bone.
Equine pedal osteitis can affect either one or both forelegs as they carry more weight than the hind limbs - therefore more susceptible to injury. Horses suffering from equine pedal osteitis often have a history of lameness in the forelegs.
Symptoms of Equine Pedal Osteitis
Look for infection in the foot near the coffin bone indicating the septic form of equine pedal osteitis or
Inflammation/bruising in the foot near the coffin bone indicating the non-septic form of the condition.
Causes of Equine Pedal Osteitis
The causes of equine pedal osteitis can range from poor foot conformation to hoof imbalance, too much work on hard ground, thin hooves, "flat feet”, and bad shoeing for non-septic equine pedal osteitis and, bacteria from an open wound e.g. the horse stepped on something piercing like glass or a nail for the septic form of equine pedal osteitis.
Treatment of Non-septic Equine Pedal Osteitis
Firstly you must get your vet to diagnose equine pedal osteitis via a series of tests and x-rays.
Likely treatment is a consultation with your farrier for corrective shoeing to accommodate the cause of the condition. Bar shoes or central support shoes are often prescribed to try and counteract poor foot conformation as is trimming of the hoof to improve foot balance.
Rest and gentle exercise and anti-inflammatory drugs such as phenylbutazone will most likely be prescribed.
Treatment of Septic Equine Pedal Osteitis
This is likely to take the form of a procedure called surgical debridement. The vet will use a neural block or general anaesthesia to drain away the infection and treat with padding and antibiotics.