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Friday, November 26, 2010

Vascular Plastination Casts of Equine Feet Ready for Shipping from Hoofcare Publishing

Note: these casts are temporarily not in stock. Because of the delicate work involved, they will be offered on a "special order" basis in the future. Please contact us to find out what the status of supply is at any time and we'll do our best to assist you. We do also sell beautiful posters of images of the blood supply

A plastinated "corrosion cast" of the blood supply in a horse's foot is created from the foot of a cadaver. Plastic is injected into the veins and, after removing the hoof capsule and processing away any non-vascular tissue, what is left is virtually a three-dimensional venogram. Hoofcare and Lameness is offering these for sale on a special order or as-available basis beginning in November 2010.

This over-exposed and light-enhanced image of a corrosion casting shows the delicate structure of the blood supply inside the hoof capsule.

Hoofcare and Lameness is now taking orders for full-hoof vascular casts, preserved by the plastination process of Dr. Christoph von Horst of HC Biovision in Germany. Dr. von Horst will be shipping these to the USA.

Some of you may have seen the half-hoof cast that has been on display in the Hoofcare and Lameness booth in the past. Everyone wanted it, but it wasn't for sale. A special-order trial set of casts was sold this spring, and new sets have followed.

The cost for a whole hoof corrosion casting in the USA is $352 plus $10 shipping. The casts cannot be shipped to foreign addresses.

The plastic is quite resilient, but these models should be handled with care. It's hard to imagine a better tool to explain why a venogram is needed, or as an asset to an anatomy class.

Photos can be shown to preview a model. They vary in the amount of detail and thickness in the hoof wall and sole; many have high detail in the coronary band papillae and digital veins.

One model that has been popular was affixed to a plexiglas base, making handling easier and insuring longer life. To view the underside, you can just look through the plexiglas. This is an excellent model for anyone who would use the model in a classroom setting.

A great variation exists in the amount of capillary tissue that has clung to the plastic through the mastication process. Models with more external capillaries are attractive to represent the whole hoof and the complexity of the hoof's blood supply; models with fewer capillaries allow better examination inside the capsule and more attractive light transmission for photography. The two models in the photographs with this article illustrate the extremes of these variations.

Partial models mimic venograms of horses with severe laminitis so that the owner can see in three dimensions what the damage to the vascular system might look like. This is just a gross approximation and is not meant to represent any particular case or stage of laminitis, but to illustrate where the damage might have occurred. These partial models are fragile.

Special orders can be arranged with Dr. Von Horst if you are looking for a vascular model of a certain type of foot. The casts available are a mixture of front and hind feet of average-sized, presumably healthy horses with no medical history available.

Please contact Fran Jurga at 978 281 3222 or email to inquire about the models. They are sold on a first-come, first-served basis. Pre-payment is required on all orders.

Hoofcare & Lameness has some amazing plastinated equine educational tools from HC Biovision.

These models are used in natural history museums, universities, veterinary hospitals, farrier clinics, and natural trimming schools around the world. They are permanent, low-maintenance, colorful, and durable preservations of actual tissue slices of horse hoof and limb tissue.

© Fran Jurga and Hoofcare Publishing; Fran Jurga's Hoof Blog is a between-issues news service for subscribers to Hoofcare and Lameness Journal. Please, no use without permission. You only need to ask. This blog may be read online at the blog page, checked via RSS feed, or received via a digest-type email (requires signup in box at top right of blog page). To subscribe to Hoofcare and Lameness (the journal), please visit the main site,, where many educational products and media related to equine lameness and hoof science can be found. Questions or problems with this blog? Send email to
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