A 10 year-old gelding presented to PHD veterinary services for a history of recurrent abscesses in the left front foot. Over a period of 6 months, the gelding developed 3 distinct abscesses which ruptured at the coronary band. At presentation the gelding was mildly lame and there was no active drainage from the most recent abscess rupture. A radiographic exam was performed to determine if there was a radiographic explanation for the development of multiple foot abscesses in the same foot.
The most notable finding in the radiographic exam was evidence of coffin bone rotation (Figure 1 and 2). In Figure 2, the red dotted lines should be parallel. The red line on the left corresponds to the dorsal hoof wall and the red line on the right corresponds to the dorsal aspect of the coffin bone. The reason they are not parallel is because the red line on the right has rotated in a down ward direction approximately 10-12 degrees. Evidence of coffin bone rotation suggests a history of laminitis or founder and this might explain the recurring foot abscesses. In addition, the yellow lines in Figure 1 highlight the hoof wall defect which developed secondary to the recurrent foot abscesses. There are thin areas that appear radiolucent (black lines) which extend from the dorsal hoof wall defect (yellow lines) down towards the bottom of the foot. These radiolucent lines may correspond to remnants of draining tracts from the recent abscesses.
Special thanks to the Dr. Andrew Smith and the University of Florida's radiology department!