Penn veterinary school's farrier envisions equine orthotics

10/8/2012 | Philadelphia Inquirer, The

University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine farrier Patrick Reilly measures equine hoof pressure using technology borrowed from human medicine in an effort to treat laminitis. Two sheets of plastic with a special ink placed on the foot record 1,000 points of pressure on the horse's hooves. Although Reilly points out he is still defining what a normal reading looks like, he is already designing a shoe for horses that will alter pressure-bearing surfaces, allowing time to heal. Laminitis is a painful condition responsible for many cases of euthanasia. "The foot has evolved so that it allows [horses] to be the amazing athletes that they are, but it's also what brings them down," said Penn veterinarian Hannah Galantino-Homer.

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