Sunday, January 20, 2008

New Book Announcement: Therapeutic Farriery Available from Hoofcare Books

Therapeutic Farriery: A Manual for Veterinarians and Farriers by Yehuda Avisar has made its way east.

"Yudi" may not have a name that is a household word in vet/farrier circles, but I don't know of many well-known experts who would have the time and perseverance to complete a project like this. He has paid his dues; this Israeli-born veterinarian worked as a farrier at the side of the legendary Charles Heumphreus, longtime resident farrier at the University of California at Davis' vet school, and many of the photos in the book show examples of his work on cases at the school.

This new book is very well-researched and referenced. Many of the photos look dated because they are from the Heumphreus archive, but this is the closest thing we have had to an actual new textbook on farriery in many years. You won't find banana shoes or plastic shoes or inflatable hoof pads or even Natural Balance shoes. There are no justifications for hoof balance theories and hardly a word about wild horses.

If there is such a thing as a subjective science, hoof science is it. Every author is noted for his exclusions and his biases and this book is no different in that respect. And the cases are all illustrative of the dry California hoof, something that has been missing from hoof reference books to date. The author's specific division of hoof problems into subsets is inspiring--he even has separated heel dermatitis from foot mange and defines things like "false quarter". He gives references to people like Don Birdsall, a California farrier who was way ahead of his time in "mapping" the foot and studying coronary contour and dedicates a small section to the oft-overlooked (or misdiagnosed) problem of coronitis. Most interesting to me was a section on frostbite and, conversely, burns in the hoof caused by power tools or resin curing.

One could use this book to reference many concepts in farriery and find both text and clear diagrams to back up a certain technique. It would make an excellent textbook for a college or professional course, and I think that may the author's intent. The book is nicely designed, with references in color to offset them from the text.

The tendency in farrier publishing is for an ever-rising standard of photography and graphics, thanks to the influence of talented visually-oriented people like Chris Pollitt. This book takes a step or two backward, to the text-centric, footnoted reference books of the pre-Internet, pre-PowerPoint age. When you need a reference book, this book can be a treasure on your bookshelf.

Therapeutic Farriery costs $90. You can order it from Hoofcare & Lameness; please include $6 for post in the USA and $13 for post to most other countries. It is hardcover, 292 pages, and is fully indexed and illustrated. Click here for a printable, faxable/mailable order form, or send an email with Visa/Mastercard info and your full name and address to

And how's your book coming?