Imprint emergency frog cast for the laminitic equine

Imprint Emergency Frog Cast for the Laminitic Equine

Imprint Emergency Frog Cast

Veterinary surgeon Charlie Tomlinson from The Hale Vets in Chippenham Wiltshire was called to an immobile event horse over the bank holiday weekend which she quickly diagnosed as suffering from acute laminitis. He was unwilling to hold a foot up for more than a minute or so. Amongst the first aid treatment administered Charlie fitted Imprint Frog Casts made from Imprint Hoof Repair to help bring relief. She comments “At Hale Equine Vets all our vets use Imprint Hoof Repair to make individual frog supports as a first line treatment in laminitis”. The horse’s feet were x-rayed to ascertain the current situation within the hoof capsule and in preparation for remedial farriery shortly to follow. First thing on the Bank Holiday Monday she returned with farrier Andrew Poynton to work together on the case. The horse’s comfort level was so improved due to the prompt and comprehensive action taken by the vet that the farriers work was allowed by the horse without issue. All Andrew needed to do was concentrate on the appropriate adjustments in hoof trimming deduced from the x-ray images. We are cautiously optimistic about this case, the damage is limited, and so recovery is likely to be quicker.

Foot before Imprint Frog Cast.

Foot before Imprint Frog Cast.

Laminitis First Aid  – Imprint Emergency Frog Cast

Laminitis risk is particularly high with the current spring flush of grass. For those that slip through the safety net, as a first aid measure as soon as acute laminitis is suspected there are a number of actions to implement such as remove cause, (if known) rest, pain and anti inflammatory relieving drugs. At this point of severe laminal inflammation and liability to rupture, this is the ‘golden hour’ to act and provide immediate support to the bone column and the weight borne by it before laminal breakdown occurs or further trauma develops. It is not always possible to find a farrier to carry out emergency remedial shoeing at short notice, so:

Bespoke Frog Cast mould

Bespoke Frog Cast moulded.

What to do:

Work on the most painful foot first if there is any discrepancy. Take a quantity of Imprint Hoof Repair plastic similar to the size of the patient’s frog. Place in a container add boiling water to soften. Remove any dirt from the frog. Take the softened material and mould over the entirety of the frog so as to create a bespoke frog cast. Whether the patient is shod or otherwise the depth of the frog cast needs to come into contact with the ground when the foot is placed on the ground, thereby transferring load bearing to the centre of the foot. The margins should not extend onto the sole. The foot can then be wrapped to keep the cast in place. If you wish to harden the frog cast before the foot weight bears use Imprint Shoe Freezer to speed up the hardening process.

Frog cast hardening with Imprint Shoe Freezer

Hardening with Imprint Shoe Freezer.

What you should see:

Ideally and in most cases the patient will immediately favour standing on the supported limb and show signs of beginning to relax. If the patient appears less comfortable or unwilling to bear weight on that limb check that the frog cast is not proud and creating excess frog pressure, or if the cast is encroaching too far forwards onto the sole at the apex of the frog.

Imprint frog cast - ready to provide firm support

Ready to provide firm support.

Why employ this method of First Aid?

The objective is to quickly and simply create a cast not unlike that used for a broken bone, to provide firm support to the Distal Phalanx thereby limiting displacement which reduces pain within the hoof capsule at this highly vulnerable time, all without any further trauma. Both the frog and digital cushion are compressible structures, placing further soft compressible material beneath the frog is unlikely to provide adequate stability that is required. By carrying out the above procedure you are likely to save the patient from great suffering and speed recovery and return to full athletic health. There is definitely a feel good factor when you see this first hand or hoof so to speak.

What next?

X-ray the feet. Employ the services of a farrier or veterinary surgeon competent at remedial laminitic trimming, working from radiographs and fitting Imprint First Shoes.

Frog Cast formed to contact the ground.

Frog Cast formed to contact the ground.


Frog casting is a great temporary First Aid measure as you will see, but during the treatment of the recovering laminitic, remedial trimming to re-orientate ideal phalangeal position is vital as is additional hoof capsule support. The Imprint First Shoes were specifically developed to achieve this, again without further trauma to the foot. The correctly fitted Imprint First Shoe provides the all important frog support and solar elevation particularly forward of the frog where in the laminitic the Distal Phalanx bears down against the sole crushing the solar corium in between. The sole is still accessible for monitoring, keeping dry and aired and treatment if the sole has breached. The toe of the Imprint First Shoe bridges over the sole at the toe protecting it from direct impact and the point of breakover is shortened and can be further by rasping if needed. This reduces the lever arm from the centre of articulation and relieves laminal tearing beneath the dorsal hoof wall. (An Imprint Hospital Sole Plate can be created quickly for the patient that has perforated the sole.)

The Imprint Equine Foot Care System is used to treat a wide range of equine hoof conditions. Established in 2000 this tried and tested system has proved particularly effective in the treatment of laminitis. Firsthand positive clinical experience has led Utrecht University to carry out a scientific research project to quantify and evaluate the effect of the Imprint First Shoes. For more details please see here.

For advice or referral contact…

Imprint Equine Foot Care – Tel:  +44 1666 822953

Poynton Farriery Clinic – Website: here