Tuesday, October 25, 2005

RIC REDDEN: The Laminitis Warrior Returns to Do Battle!

Dr. Ric Redden is the world's best-known laminitis consultant. He recently announced his return to active consulting and practice after an attempt at retirement. Here's a short introduction to just a few of the topics that Doc will address.

VERSAILLES, KENTUCKY—Ric Redden, DVM, has pioneered the use of a diagnostic test called a venogram, which shows a veterinarian the extent of damage to the blood supply in the foot following laminitis. Knowing the extent of damage will be important; without a healthy blood supply, medications cannot reach foot tissues, and growth of the hoof will be retarded, or possibly deformed.

One of Redden’s many accomplishments is a protocol for preventing laminitis in horses with a severe injury in one leg. When a disproportionate amount of weight is put on one leg in a pair, the so-called “good” leg HOOF? often develops laminitis. Redden uses wedges and wraps to support the good leg as soon as the injured leg has been operated on, or a cast has been applied. His recommendations are now followed at veterinary hospitals around the world.

In all laminitis cases, Redden uses radiographs extensively to evaluate the position of the coffin bone inside the foot. When a horse has laminitis, the fibers holding the coffin bone to the hoof wall are destroyed, and the bone may move, or “rotate” away from the wall. At the same time, the deep digital flexor tendon in the back of the foot loses the opposing connection o the hoof wall and, in simplest terms, may pull up on the bone and worsen the rotation.

Redden’s process of “de-rotation” is widely adopted, and his use of “self-adjusting” horseshoes allows a foundered horse to find a point of comfort based on the coffin bone’s angle. These shoes allow a horse to virtually rock back and forth and stand in a position that is comfortable. For more horses, the comfortable position will be where the coffin bone is almost parallel to the ground. Flat shoes and a hard surface to stand on make it more difficult for a horse to “self-adjust” its stance.

Some of the this text may have appeared in the article "Laminitis Battle Stations" in a recent issue of Practical Horseman magazine.