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Miniature Horse Gets Artificial Hoof, New Chance at Life Thanks to CSU Vets

After Shine was attacked by a dog and his leg was injured to the point it needed to be amputated, veterinarians thought he would be a great candidate for a prosthetic.


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After a dog attack, Shine the miniature horse was left with a mangled hoof and infection. If he had any chance of survival, he needed surgical amputation.

As Shine’s owners wrote on their crowdfunding page:

“On December 29, 2015 Shine was viciously attacked by a dog/dogs while standing in his paddock. I went to feed that morning before 6:00 am and found him mauled and standing in a pool of blood. I called my husband then my vet. Shine had punctures to his face, his bottom lip was torn, his front knee gashed open and his rear fetlock covered in blood. There was no visible white on him only blood. It was freezing cold and the blood stuck to him like icicles. It was the worst thing I have ever seen in my life. I rushed to call the vet and to get him cleaned up. Shine has been under veterinary care ever since. Shine healed up everywhere except his rear leg. It progressively got worse. So on March 8 I decided we needed to do something more than soak his leg, put medicine in the wound and wrap him which we had done daily for months I called Rocky Top Vet Clinic in Colorado for a second opinion. Dr. Britt came out and X-rays Shine's leg to discover 2 broken bones and a wound that left his hoof barely attached. He said we had done a great job keeping it clean and was glad we called. Not exactly sure what to do, Dr. Britt called CSU Veterinary Teaching Hospital in Ft Collins, CO to talk to Dr. Goodrich to see what options we had available besides sending him to heaven. She looked at the pictures and X-rays and thought he would be a great candidate for amputation surgery and a prosthetic if he survived the surgery. His recovery wasn't great but worth a shot. We hauled him 4 hours to CSUVTH on Monday March 14,2016.  They evaluated him and said they would proceed if we could commit to his constant care. We love Shine so much it wasn't an option so here we are.”

The veterinarians came through, and now Shine is one of the few horses with an artificial hoof, thanks to CSU’s James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital. Dr. Laurie Goodrich, an associate professor of equine orthopaedics, led a two-hour surgery to remove Shine’s infected hoof and distal limb below the fetlock, the hinge joint of the lower leg. She placed two stainless steel pins through the cannon bone to help support Shine’s leg while the wound healed.

Goodrich used measurements from radiographs and a 3-D printer to build an exact replica of Shine’s hoof. Then, nearly a month after his surgery, he was fitted for his new prothesis. Then, on April 18, it was put on.  Shine was fitted with an artificial hoof from OrthoPets, a company in Westminster, Colo. He is the fourth miniature horse to have an artificial hoof.

“It’s the first one I’ve done, but I’ve always wanted to try,” Goodrich said, who specializes in equine orthopaedic surgery. “We had no way of preserving that limb. So we had to take it off, and this was the only option to preserve his life.”

This is something seen very often: Horses with artificial limbs. A horse is too large to be fitted with an artificial limb that could successfully hold its 800 to 2,000 pounds. Shine’s size makes this kind of treatment possible.

Shine’s owners originally had planned for him on being a show horse, but now they want him to be a therapy horse. They think he could be an inspiration for wounded veterans and kids with disabilities.

They are currently raising funds for his care. Find out more about Shine's story here, and about the crowdfunding page here

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