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Abstract

Objective—To define a 3-dimensional (3-D) coordinate system with clear definitions of origins and axes relative to hoof anatomic features and determine whether solar surfaces of Thoroughbred racehorse hooves have geometric asymmetry in the mediolateral and dorsopalmar directions.

Sample Population—Left forelimb hooves from 20 Thoroughbred racehorse cadavers.

Procedure—A right-handed 3-D coordinate axes system centered on the collateral sulci was defined for the left front hoof. Orthogonal distances of anatomic features from the dorsopalmar axis and the plane coincident with the ground were measured and compared between medial and lateral sides and between dorsal and palmar regions of the hoof.

Results—The hoof was wider and had a greater radius laterally than medially. The most distal part of the lateral bar of the frog was further from the dorsopalmar axis than that of the medial bar. Overall, mediolateral asymmetries in depth were not observed. The sole at the perimeter was deeper medially in the dorsal part of the hoof and laterally in the palmar part, with depth overall being greater palmarly than dorsally. Most features had dorsopalmar asymmetry.

Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—When the angle bisected by the collateral sulci is used to determine the dorsopalmar axis of the hoof, most central structures (bars and collateral sulci) have mediolateral symmetry. However, the hoof wall and sole have some mediolateral asymmetries and most structures have dorsopalmar asymmetry. These findings may assist the development of devices for attachment to hooves and studies of the interaction of hooves with bearing surfaces. (Am J Vet Res 2003;64:1030–1039)

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in American Journal of Veterinary Research