A radiographic technique to assess the longitudinal balance in front hooves



The aim of this study was to validate a radiographic technique to measure objectively the longitudinal hoof balance in the horse. Ten left third phalanges (P3) obtained from front hooves and 19 left front hooves were used in order to assess the reliability of the radiographic technique and to identify any effect of rotation or alignment of specimens or distance between the X-ray machine and the radiographic cassette, in measuring P3s structures and balance related parameters. A rotational support was made to hold specimens in order to standardise some of the conditions of X-raying. The main axis of the frog was used as a marker for the sagittal plane of P3. Results showed that single radiographic measurements could have wide limits of agreement with actual measurements of the hoof (gold standard values). In order to limit errors we suggest the use of a combination instead of single parameters to assess balance. Rotation of the hoof is also to be controlled when a measurement of angles is needed. The radiographic technique used in this study can be used to objecticely measure balance parameters considered important in order to assess hoof balance.