Thursday, March 21, 2013

On the Case: California Wrap, British Style, for White Line Disease

One of the best things about the Hoof Blog is hearing from people  inspired to share how they would use different materials or methods to achieve the same thing.

Paul Raw, DipWCF is a farrier in northern England who had never heard of the California Wrap featured on the Hoof Blog back in December 2012. But as soon as he saw what Southern California Equine Podiatry's Dr Mark Silverman and farrier Ernest Woodward had done for a case of white line disease, Paul "got it" -- because he had come up with a similar solution using a completely different material.

British farrier Paul Raw wrapped a white line disease case in a jacket of plastic granules, with a palladium-style window.

In both cases, the problem is white line disease in the lateral wall but there's a very big difference between the two cases that goes far beyond the variation in materials. In California, the assignment was simply to create a treatment-friendly matrix that would allow someone else to shoe the horse. Ernest never drove a nail into his adhesive-impregnated fabric hoof jacket. But someone else did. (Photo below.)

Paul, on the other hand, built his design from the shoe up. His choice for a shoe was a glue-on Imprint thermoplastic shoe. For those who haven't seen them, these shoes are extremely lightweight and, when heated, become completely malleable.

The Woodward-Silverman solution in California was to wrap the hoof in adhesive-impregnated fabric and cut windows for the owner to treat the white line disease. The regular farrier was given the case back ready to be shod as he saw fit. (Ernest Woodward photo)

To help Reggie, a Thoroughbred gelding with white line disease, Paul's vet-reviewed wall jacket includes the negative space of a palladium-style treatment window. He constructed the jacket of moldable thermoplastic granules, which are integrated into the shoe made of the same material. The granules are transformed by hot water or a heat gun into a flexible, shapable, transparent material that can fill cracks, create extensions, or (in this case) create a barrier jacket over the hoof.

After six weeks in the thermoplastic wrap, the foot had recovered enough that Paul reversed the process he had begun: he filled the defect with thermoplastic crystals and shod the horse with a Blurton heart bar shoe.

The Hoof Blog asked Paul if brittleness was a factor in the Imprint system. He answered, "They do not get brittle at all as (the material) has been engineered to mimic the exact hardness of the equine hoof so it is very flexible."

Imprint shoes and granules aren't common in the United States, but here you see a stallion at a Kentucky farm with what appears to be a form of Imprint hoof protection on his front feet during breeding season. It looks like he's wearing comfy bedroom slippers! (© Wendy Wooley image, used with permission.)

"On the odd occasion, if the horse is worked in a sandy environment, it can work down the collar at the top. But if you use the corner of your rasp to put a groove one centimeter down from the top and peel away the filler, you can replace it using the Imprint structural adhesive and imprint granules. So very easy from a running maintenance point of view."

"It was packed with pevidine (iodine solution) and sugar (known as "sugardine" in the USA) for the first week," Paul continued, "as it acts as a super drying agent but keeps it clean while new tissue granulated. Then it was left open for the air to get to it unless (the horse) was going anywhere unclean-- i.e muddy field or hacking out -- then it was wrapped up with duck (tape) briefly to keep it clean to reduce the chance of it abscessing."

How did Paul's palladium window work on this horse? He reports: "I did see the horse after that and still shoe him. The shoe stayed on for six weeks, which was long enough for the treatment to make such a leap forward I was able to fully fill the crack with Imprint granules on the second shoeing and within 4-5 months it had completely grown out. The horse was back in work after a month."

© 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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