Treatment. - We have seen from the pathology of this disease that it may commence either as a rarefactive ostitis, or as a synovitis and tenositis in connection with the bursa. With the former condition in existence, or when this and the synovitis has led to erosion of the cartilage, treatment is probably of no avail, on account of the more chronic nature of these two conditions. When, however, the condition is simply that of synovitis or tenositis, a more or less acute condition, we may assume that suitable treatment and a long rest will bring about resolution.

The first indications in treatment are those of what we may term 'nursing' the foot. It should have sufficient rest, should be placed so as to minimize as far as possible compression of the parts, and should have its posterior half treated so as to render it softer and less liable to concussion.

The period of rest required cannot be satisfactorily advised, and the practitioner is wise who makes it a long one. Best should be advised, in fact, long after symptoms of lameness have disappeared and recovery is judged to have taken place.

Compression of the parts may be somewhat minimized, if the animal be kept in the stable, by allowing the floor upon which the front-feet are to stand to be slightly sloping from behind forwards. The same effect, though not so marked, is obtained by removing the shoes, and considerably lowering the wall at the toe, while allowing that of the heels to remain. It may here be remarked that it is a good practice to allow the shoes to remain on, and this even when the animal is at grass. They should, however, be frequently removed, and the foot trimmed as we have directed.

With the foot thus trimmed so as to most suitably adjust the angles of the articulations, it should next be thoroughly pared and rasped in its posterior half, so as to render the horn of the sole and the frog and the horn of the quarters as thin as possible. The heels, however, should not be excessively lowered, if at all. We now have the foot in a soft condition, and easily expanded. It should, if possible, be kept so; and this may be done either by the use of poultices, by tepid baths, or by standing the animal upon a bedding that may easily be kept constantly damp. Such materials as tan, peat moss, or sawdust, are either of them suitable.

All this, of course, calls for keeping the animal in the stable. It is far better, however, more especially if a piece of marshy land is at hand, to turn him out in that. A moderate amount of exercise is beneficial rather than not, and the feet are thus constantly kept damp without trouble to the attendants.

The second indication in the treatment is that of applying a counter-irritant as near to the diseased parts as possible. Regarding its efficacy we must confess to being somewhat sceptical. The treatment has been constantly practised and advised, however, and we feel bound to give it mention here. A smart blister may, therefore, be applied to the whole of the coronet, and need not be prevented from running into the hollow of the heel.

Instead of blistering the coronet (or in conjunction with that treatment), the counter-irritant may be applied by passing a seton through the plantar cushion or fibro-fatty frog. Setoning the frog appears to have been introduced by Sewell. In many cases great benefit is claimed to have been derived from it, especially by English veterinarians of Sewell's time, and by others on the Continent. Percival, however, was not an advocate for it, and, at the present day, it is a practice which appears to have dropped out of use altogether.

Fig. 164.   Frog Seton Needle

Fig. 164. - Frog Seton Needle.

To perform this operation a seton needle of a curved pattern is needed (see Fig. 164). This is threaded with a piece of stout tape dressed with a cantharides, hellebore, or other blistering ointment, and then passed in at the hollow of the heel, emerging at the point of the frog. The course the needle should take will be understood from a reference to Fig. 165.

The seton may be passed with the horse in the standing position. Previously the point of the frog should be thinned, and the animal should be twitched. After-treatment consists simply in moving the seton daily, and dressing it occasionally with any stimulating ointment, or with turpentine.

If, in spite of these treatments, the disease persists, then nothing remains but neurectomy.