Disease Du Jour: Negative Palmar Angle in Horses

feet hooves horses running
Front and hind feet can suffer from negative palmar angles. iStock

“Negative palmar angle is not a diagnosis, it is a radiographic finding,” stressed Steve O’Grady, DVM, MRCVS, who worked as a professional farrier for a decade prior to obtaining his degree in veterinary medicine. O’Grady’s current practice is Virginia Therapeutic Farriery, which is a referral practice that provides advanced services in equine podiatry.

In this podcast, O’Grady gives the basics about what a negative palmar angle is in a horse’s hoof. He talks about the inability to “fix” the damage once it is severe and the effect on other structures in the hoof.

But O’Grady also offers tips and information about how to recognize this issue in horse feet and the steps to take to help the horse.

Read More

O’Grady has a new paper on his website titled “Can farriery resolve the negative palmar angle?

Editor’s note: I highly recommend you listen to the podcast, then read the paper.

You can read other articles by O’Grady when you visit his website.

Images of Negative Palmar Angle Support Plates

“Stability or ‘spider’ plates are often used on feet with low heels,” said O’Grady, DVM, MRCVS. “They protect the heel section of the foot and redistribute weight bearing across the solar surface of the foot.”

plastic spider plate from Steve O'Grady
This is a spider plate made from plastic. Courtesy Dr. Steve O’Grady
This is a spider plate made from carbon fiber. Courtesy Dr. Steve O’Grady

“3D half mesh pads can be used to stabilize, protect and redistribute weight bearing throughout the heel section of the horse’s foot,” stated O’Grady.

This is a 3D half-mesh pad. Courtesy Dr. Steve O’Grady
This is a 3D plate. Courtesy Dr. Steve O’Grady

About Dr. Steve O’Grady

Steve O’Grady, DVM, MRCVS, worked as a professional farrier for a decade prior to obtaining his degree in veterinary medicine. His mentor was “Hall of Fame” farrier Joseph M. Pierce of West Chester, Pennsylvania. O’Grady attended Haverford College and went on to graduate in 2981 from the University of Pretoria, Faculty of Veterinary Science, in South Africa, with a DVM Degree. O’Grady then completed an equine internship in Cape Town, South Africa.

After returning to the United States, he worked in Virginia with Dr. Dan Flynn at Georgetown Equine Hospital in Charlottesville for 10 years.

In 2003, O’Grady opened Northern Virginia Equine in Marshall, Virginia, which was devoted to foot disease and equine therapeutic farriery.

O’Grady’s current practice is called Virginia Therapeutic Farriery, which is a referral practice that provides advanced services in equine podiatry. The facility is located in Keswick, Virginia. O’Grady also sees referral patients at Georgetown Equine Hospital in Virginia and Palm Beach Equine Clinic in Wellington, Florida.

O’Grady’s practice offers comprehensive diagnosis, treatment and maintenance for a variety of foot conditions combining medical therapy as well as therapeutic shoeing. O’Grady’s 40 years of farriery experience combined with his veterinary work allows him to use the basic principles of farriery combined with advanced technologies to treat foot problems.

O’Grady has published 33 peer-reviewed articles, numerous papers in the farrier literature, written 17 book chapters and edited two editions of Veterinary Clinics of North America on equine podiatry and therapeutic farriery.

In 2003, O’Grady was inducted into the International Equine Veterinarians Hall of Fame, and in 2009 he received the AAEP President’s Award for his work in farrier education. In 2019, he was awarded the coveted Gold Medal from the South Africa Veterinary Association.

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