Thursday, July 4, 2013

Bull Shoeing...It Happens!

Sure, Why Not....What Good is Health Insurance
 If You Don't Use It Occasionally?


"Yeah, you and how many other idiots?"

[Note: Always use caution when a friend calls and says, "Look, could you fill in for me a bit.  Going on sabbatical for a few months and..."   So the second or third retirement ends and you find yourself in the Large Animal Hospital, UC-Davis -- once again wearing the rather weathered shoeing apron.  And that's when you notice the not-so-fine print:  large animals aren't always confined to equus caballus or some distant cousin.  Sometimes they include a fellow like this with the unassuming name:  Rodney.]
From Anvil Magazine, 1999:    The large Animal Hospital at the University of California/Davis pretty much takes on anything that walks, crawls or is carried through the front gate.  As a teaching hospital, it is oriented toward both research and education.  quite often, given the resources available at a large institution, a university may also represent the last hope for a sick or injured animal -- or ideally, a new beginning. An institute of last resort.  Both resident and staff farriers work with the veterinary staff and students on these complex cases -- in this instance, Dr. Meri Stratton-Phelps -- for try and find a solution to often highly complex cases. 
The case outlined here was somewhat unusual, because it involved a breeding bull with an abscess in one rear claw.  The abscess evolved into a case of osteomyelitis -- basically a bone infection.  The claw was removed, casted, and fitted with a wooden extension in an attempt to stabilize load bearing on the leg.  However, the opposite hind was experiencing an overload and the question arose as to whether this bull would be able to....well, date again.  Farrier Adam Wynbrandt of Wilton, California, got the call.  [Ha, ha...yes.  I got to sit this one out behind the camera.  Sure, I was disappointed...kinda.]

Pictures  1 and 2 show the damaged footSome of the residual casting material is clearly visible.  The material will have to be carefully removed in order to equalize the length of the claws.   

The damaged claw is beginning to cornify nicely. 
Upper photo: Farrier Adam Wynbrandt uses a side-grinder to remove excess material.  Needless to say, the bull is secured in rotating stocks in a reclining position.  Above: Dr. Stratton-Phelps debrides and cleans up both hind feet. 
Left to right:  (1): Adam makes the final preparation. The decision is made to use Resident Farrier, Kirk Adkins' Sneakers, an aluminum/urethane composite shoe.  The claws will be bonded as one unit with a sufficient amount of posterior support in order to prevent the bull from constantly rocking back onto its fetlocks.
(2):  The Sneakers are fitted and nailed on by Adam on one side of the claw only.  Goven the amount of damage, it is impossible to nail the opposing side.  And as anyone knows who has ever applied oxen shoes, nailing is tricky at best.
(3):  The prepared foot.  The shoe application is going to be half-nailed and half-glued.
(4):  The decision is made to use Equi-thane to bond the Sneaker to the damaged portions of the foot.
Left:  A heat gun is used to accelerate the setting of the bonding agent.
Right:  The finished fit. 
The finished job.  Both hind feet are stabilized and the prognosis is good.  This bull will make it back to breeding duties thanks to a little thinking outside the box.  Most of us consider ourselves strictly horseshoers, but in the real world, our expertise is both wanted and needed for all hooved animals, domestic or otherwise.
Well, I don't know about you, but this story really tired me out.  "Say, Doc...what do you think about getting a cold beer and some lunch?" 

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