Definition. - A condition of the hoof in which the wall is marked by a series of well-defined ridges in the horn, each ridge running parallel with the coronary margin. They are known commonly as 'grass rings,' and may be easily distinguished from the more grave condition we have alluded to as following laminitis, by the mere fact that they do not, as do the laminitic rings, approximate each other in the region of the toe, but that they run round the foot, as we have already said, parallel with each other.
Fig. 82. - Hoof Showing The Rings In The Horn Brought About By Physiological Causes.
Causes. - This condition is purely a physiological, and not a pathological one, and the words of its more common name, 'grass rings,' sufficiently indicate one of the most common causes. Anything tending to an alternate increase and decrease in the secretion of horn from the coronet will bring it about. Thus, in an animal at grass, with, according to the weather conditions, an alternate moistness and dryness of the pasture, with its consequent influence on the horn secretion, these rings nearly always appear. The effects of repeated blisters to the coronet make themselves apparent in the same way, and testify to the efficacy of blisters in this region in any case where an increased growth of horn is deemed necessary. From this it is clear that the condition depends primarily upon the amount and condition of the blood supplied to the coronary cushion. Thus, fluctuations in temperature during a long-continued fever, or the effects of alternate heat and cold, or of healthy exercise alternated with comparative idleness, will each rib the foot in much the same manner.
Treatment. - The condition is so simple that we may almost regard it as normal. Consequently, treatment of any kind is superfluous. Where constitutional disturbance is exerting an influence upon either the quality or quantity of the blood directed to the part, then, of course, attention must be paid to the disease from which it is arising.