Definition. - By the term 'nail-bound' is indicated that accident occurring in the forge in which the nail of the shoe is driven too near the sensitive structures. Although involving no actual wound, it is important to consider the condition under the heading of this chapter, in order that it may be distinguished from the graver accident of a 'prick.'
Causes. - Very largely the whole matter of causation turns on the correct fitting of the shoe. The points especially to be noticed in this connection are (1) the position of the nail-holes in the web of the shoe, (2) the 'pitch' of the nail-holes.
Regarding the position of the nails, it goes without saying that the first consideration when 'holing' the shoe should be to punch the holes opposite to sound horn. This remark applies especially to shelly and brittle feet, the type of feet in which tight-nailing most often occurs. The next consideration in this connection is that of punching the holes so that the nail emerges from the upper surface of the web at exactly its correct point of entrance on the bearing surface of the foot. This should be on the white line immediately where it joins the wall. From this position any marked deviation inwards ('fine-nailing,' as it is termed) is bound to give to the nail a direction dangerously near the sensitive structures.
The 'pitch' of the nail-holes should be such that the nail is guided more or less nearly to follow the line of inclination of the wall. Accordingly, the nail-holes at the toe should be 'pitched' distinctly inwards, the inward pitch lessening as the quarters are reached, until the hindermost nail-hole or two is pitched in a direction that is almost perpendicular.
Too great an inward inclination of the nail will, however, give rise to a bind.
It is probable that 'tight-nailing' results more often from fine punching of the shoe than from any fault in the pitch of the hole. Inattention to either detail, however, is apt to bring the mischief about.
Even with a correctly fitted shoe, and with a normal foot, tight-nailing may occur as a result of sheer carelessness on the part of the smith.
Symptoms. - Possibly the animal returns from the forge sound. It is on the following day, as a rule, that evidence of the injury is given by the animal coming out from the stable lame. In a well-marked case the foot is warmer to the hand than its fellow, and percussion over the wall will sometimes reveal the particular nail that is the cause of the trouble. Should the shoe be removed, then the fact that the hole the nail has made is far too close to the sole often points out at once the seat of the mischief.
Treatment. As to whether or not the shoe should be removed is very much a matter for careful discretion on the part of the veterinary surgeon. Where the foot is shelly and brittle even a good smith sometimes finds himself unable to firmly attach the shoe without verging closely on causing the condition we are now describing. The author has known cases where animals with feet of this description have almost invariably returned from the forge, or rather been found the next day, with a suspicion of tenderness. After the lapse of a day or two this has quite often disappeared, and nothing in the meantime been done with the foot. Seeing, therefore, that removal and refitting of the shoe is in this case attended with risk of breaking away portions of the brittle horn, and so rendering the foot in an even worse condition than it was before, it is policy to decline to have the shoes removed unless worse symptoms make their appearance.
In coming to this decision the veterinary surgeon must be guided by noting in the wall the points of exit of the nails. Should the nail adjoining the position already pronounced to be tender have come out at a higher point than the others, it may be assumed that at a lower position in its course through the horn it has gone near the sensitive structures without actually penetrating the horny box, and that in the course of a day or two the sensitive structures involved will accommodate themselves to the pressure thus inflicted.
If, on the other hand, symptoms of tight-nailing show themselves in an animal with good sound feet, then there is no objection to be raised against having the shoe at once removed. Should the offending nail be definitely detected, then the shoe may again be put on, and that particular nail omitted from the set.