Treatment. - The greater part of the treatment of contracted foot will almost suggest itself as a corollary of the causes we have enumerated. The normal width of the heels may be renewed, and development of the wasted frog brought about by one of three methods:
1. By restoring the pressure from below to the frog.
2. By the use of an expansion shoe.
3. By operative measures upon the horn of the wall.
1. By Restoring the Pressure from Below to the Frog.
This may be accomplished as follows:
(a) By Shoeing with Tips. - This method is advocated by Percival, by A.A. Holcombe, D.V.S., Inspector. Bureau of Animal Industry, U.S.A., by Dollar in his work on horseshoeing, and by many others.
Though requiring more care than in fitting the ordinary shoe, the application of a tip is simple. In reality, the tip is just an ordinary shoe shortened by truncating the heels.
Before applying the tip, the horn of the wall at the toe should be shortened sufficiently to prevent any undue obliquity of the hoof, and the foot should be so prepared as to allow the heels of the tip to sink flush with the bearing edge of the wall behind it.
When the foot does not allow of the removal of much horn at the toe, what is termed a 'thinned' tip is to be preferred. Its shape is sufficiently shown by the accompanying figure (Fig. 65).
With the tip the posterior half of the foot is allowed to come into contact with the ground, and the object we are striving for - namely, frog pressure, and greater facilities for alternate expansion and contraction of the heels - is thus brought about.
Fig. 64. - The Tip Shoe Let In The Foot.
Fig. 65. - The Thinned Tip.
(b) By Shoeing with the Charlier. - The results brought about by the use of a tip may be arrived at by the application of a Charlier or preplantar shoe, or by a modified Charlier or Charlier tip.
Briefly described, a Charlier is a shoe that allows the sole and the frog to come to the ground exactly as in the unshod foot. This is accomplished by running a groove round the inferior edge of the hoof by removing a portion of the bearing edge of the wall with a specially devised drawing-knife. Into this groove is fitted a narrow and somewhat deep shoe, made, preferably, of a mixture of iron and steel, and forged in such a manner that its front or outer surface follows the outer slope of the wall.
The Charlier should have the inner edge of its upper surface very slightly bevelled, in order to prevent any pressure on the sensitive sole, and should be provided with from four to six nail-holes. These latter should be small in size and conical in shape. The nails themselves should be small, and have a conical head and neck, to fit into the nail-hole of the shoe.
Fig. 66. - The Special Drawing-Knife (Fleming'S) For Preparing The Foot For The Charlier Shoe.
The modified Charlier, or Charlier tip, perhaps the better of the two for the purpose we are describing, is really a shortened Charlier, and bears the same relation to the Charlier proper as the tip does to the ordinary shoe. It is let into the solar surface of the foot in exactly the same manner as its larger fellow, but it does not extend backwards beyond the commencement of the quarters. By its use greater opportunity for expansion is given to the heels than is done by the Charlier with heels of full length.
Fig. 67. - Foot Prepared For The Charlier Shoe.
We do not here intend to deal at any length with the arguments for and against the Charlier as regards its adoption for general use. These will be found fully set out in any good work on shoeing.
The point that it is correct in theory it would be idle to attempt to evade; but that it is generally practicable, or that it offers any very pronounced advantages, as compared with the disadvantages urged against it, over the shoes in ordinary use, the limited favour it has drawn to itself, since its introduction in 1865, seems sufficiently to deny.
(c) By the Use of a Bar Shoe. - Where the frog is not excessively wasted benefit will be derived from the use of a bar shoe.
Fig. 68. - Bar Shoe.
The transverse portion at the back, termed the 'bar,' and which gives the shoe its name, is instrumental in bringing about from below that counter-pressure on the frog that we now know to be so necessary a factor in remedying contraction. When the frog, by wasting or disease, is so deficient as to be unable to reach the 'bar,' this shoe must be supplemented by a leather or rubber sole.
In the event of corn or sand-crack existing with the contraction, the shoe known as a 'three-quarter bar' is preferable (see Fig. 103). The break here made in the contour of the shoe allows of dressing the corn, and, in the case of sand-crack, removes the bearing from that portion of the wall. (d) By the Use of a Bar Pad and a Heelless or 'Half' Shoe. - The bar pad consists of a shape of rubber composition firmly fixed to a leather foundation, which shape of rubber takes the place of the 'bar' of the bar shoe.
Fig. 69. - Rubber Bar Pad On Leather.
Fig. 70. - The Bar, Pad Applied With A Half-Shoe.
For habitual use in such cases as prove obstinate to treatment, or where a complete cure was never from the commencement expected, the bar pad is undoubtedly one of the most useful inventions to our hand. The animal's 'going' is improved, the tender frog is protected from injury by loose stones, and greater comfort given to both the horse and the driver.
Fig. 71. - Frog Pad.
Fig. 72. - Frog Pad Applied.
(e) By the Use of a Frog Pad and a Shoe of Ordinary Shape. - The shape of rubber on this pad is designed to cover the frog only. Its shape and mode of application is sufficiently shown in the accompanying illustrations.
(f) By turning out to Grass. - Where the expense of keep is no object, a return of contracted feet to the normal may be brought about by removing the shoes and turning the animal out to pasture, thus giving the feet the advantages to be derived from a more or less continuous operation of the normal movements of expansion and contraction. In this case the treatment must extend from three to four, or possibly six months.