2. By the Use of Some Form of Expansion Shoe.

Fig. 73.   Smith's Expansion Shoe Seen From Its Ground Surface And From The Side

Fig. 73. - Smith's Expansion Shoe Seen From Its Ground Surface And From The Side. A, The Screw, With A Fine-Cut Thread; B, Nut Which Travels Along It; C, A Hollow Thimble Into Which The Screw Passes At One End, The Other Being Cut Out V-Shaped To Catch Into A Slot (D) On The Shoe; E, E, The Grip[A] For The Bars, The Length And Direction Of Which Depend Upon The Shape Of The Foot; F, F, The Counter-Sunk Rivets Forming The Hinge (F'); G, The Counter-Sunk Rivet Of The Expanding Piece.

[Footnote A: The inventor of this shoe uses the word 'grip' to denote what, in describing other expansion shoes, we term the 'clip' (H.C.R.).]

(a) Smith's. - For many years past continental writers have been practising this method. So far as we know, however, Lieutenant-Colonel Fred Smith was the first English veterinarian to use a shoe of his own devising, and to report on its effects. This shoe we will, therefore, give first mention.

The above figure, with its accompanying letterpress, sufficiently explains the nature of the shoe. In fitting the shoe, care must be taken to have the hinges (f, f) far enough back, or the shoe will have a tendency to spring at the heels, and the grips (e, e), which catch on the bars, will have a difficulty in biting. This trouble will be avoided by having the hinges about 1-1/2 to 2 inches from the heels.

After the shoe has been firmly nailed to the foot, the travelling nut b is driven forward on the screw a so as to cause the grips to just catch on the inside of the bars of the foot. According to the inventor, the amount of pressure to be exerted must be learned by experience, and he says:

'I screw up very gradually until I see the cleft of the frog just beginning to open. I now trot the horse up, and if he goes sound it is certain that the pressure I have exercised will not give rise to trouble. The animal is sent to work to assist in the expansion of the foot. On examining the shoe next day, the grip is found to be quite loose, the foot has enlarged, and the nut is turned once more until the grip on the bars is tightened, the horse being again trotted to ascertain that no injurious pressure is exerted.

'Every day or two I repeat this process, making measurements in all cases before widening the heels. The increase in width of the foot which results is astonishing, 1/4 to 3/8 inch during the first week may be safely predicted, and in a month to six weeks it is impossible to recognise in the large healthy frog and wide heels, the shrivelled-up organ of a short time before.'[A]

[Footnote A: Journal of Comparative Pathology and Therapeutics, vol. v., p. 98.]

It is pointed out by the writer of the above (and his observations, doubtless, apply to the use of all other expansion shoes in which the bars are gripped and forcibly expanded) that the whole secret of success lies in avoiding injurious pressure by exerting too great an expansion at one operation. After each manipulation of the expanding apparatus the horse should trot sound and the frog remain cool. Should the foot become hot, and lameness supervene, then tension should at once be relaxed.

Recorded Cases of the Use of the Shoe. - The inventor of the shoe relates two cases of contracted foot treated by these means in which the heels of one, after thirty-nine days' treatment, had increased in width to the extent of 1 inch, and the heels of the other, after twenty-four days', had enlarged 5/8 inch. Of the first case he gives the drawings in Fig. 74.

A represents the foot before treatment; B the same foot after nine days' treatment, when the heels had widened 3/4 inch; and C the same foot at the end of the thirty-nine days' treatment, at which date the frog was an excellent-looking one, and the foot had increased an inch in width.[A]

[Footnote A: Journal of Comparative Pathology and Therapeutics, vol. v., p. 100]

Fig. 74.   The Changes In Form Of A Contracted Foot Treated With Smith's Expansion Shoe

Fig. 74. - The Changes In Form Of A Contracted Foot Treated With Smith's Expansion Shoe

In 1893, at a meeting of the Midland Counties Veterinary Medical Association, the late Mr. Olver said he had applied this shoe to a valuable hunter that had gone so lame that he could scarcely put his foot to the ground. After a fortnight's application, and by the assistance of the double screw in the shoe, the heel was forced out. Then the horse was put to work with the shoe on, and he had hunted the whole of the last season in a perfectly sound condition.[A]

[Footnote A: Veterinary Record, vol. vi., p. 143]

F.D. McLaren, M.R.C.V.S., writes:[A] 'I resolved to try one of Captain Smith's shoes in a case where the hoof was badly contracted, and where the frog had entirely disappeared, there being also slight lameness. The roof rapidly expanded, and every other day the nut was moved on a bit to keep the cross-piece tight. I then had the cross-piece bent downwards a little to prevent the nut pressing on the rapidly-growing frog.[B] After another fortnight or so, I had a shoe made with clips resting against the inside of the bars,[C] and the next time he was shod these were also dispensed with. It is now a year ago since the animal recovered his frog, and he still has the largest frog in the stable, and the hoof shows no sign of contraction.'

[Footnote A: Ibid., vol. vi., p. 183]

[Footnote B: The italics are mine (H.C.R.).]

[Footnote C: The expanding shoe itself was here evidently dispensed with, and an ordinary shoe with bar-clips used in its stead (H.C.R.).]