in fact, anterior to the point of inflection of the wall. The shoe, at the same time, is greatly thinned from excessive wear. Result, a sharp and easily-bended piece of iron situate immediately under the seat of corn. Pressure or actual cutting of the sole is bound to occur, and the animal is lamed.
Again, apart from the question of negligence or otherwise on the part of the smith or the animal's attendant, it must be remembered that the nailing on to the foot of a plate of iron is not giving to the animal an easier means of progression. The reverse is the case. In place of the sucker-like face of the natural horn is substituted a smooth, and, with wear, highly-polished surface. Slipping and sliding attempts to gain a foothold become frequent, and strains of the tendons and ligaments follow in their wake.
As, however, this treatise is not intended to deal with the art of shoeing, the reader must be referred to other works for further information. In addition to Fleming's, there may be mentioned, among others, Hunting's 'Art of Horse Shoeing,' and the very excellent volume of Messrs. Dollar and Wheatley on the same subject. Leaving the forge, we may next look to the nature of the animal's work, and the conditions under which he is kept, for active causes in the production of disorders of the foot. From the yielding softness of the pasture he is called to spend the bulk of his time upon the hard macadamized tracks of our country roads, or the still more hard and more dangerous asphalt pavings or granite sets of our towns. The former, with the bruises they will give the sole and frog from loose and scattered stones, and the latter, with the increased concussion they will entail on the limb, are active factors in the troubles with which we are about to deal. Upon these unyielding surfaces the horse is called to carry slowly or rapidly, as the case may be, not only his own weight, but, in addition, is asked to labour at the hauling of heavy loads. The effects of concussion and heavy traction combined are bound primarily to find the feet, and such diseases as side-bones, ringbones, corns, and sand-cracks commence to make their appearance.
Again, as opposed to the comparative healthiness of the surroundings when at grass, consideration must be given to the chemical changes the foot is frequently subjected to when the animal is housed.
Only too often the bedding the animal has to stand upon for several hours of the twenty-four can only be fitly described as 'filthy in the extreme.' The ammoniacal exhalations from these collected body-discharges must, and do, have a prejudicial effect upon the nature of the horn, and, though slow in its progress, mischief is bound sooner or later to occur in the shape of a weakened and discharging frog, with its concomitant of contracted heels. Lucky it is in such a case if canker does not follow on.
Observers, too, have chronicled the occurrence in horse's feet of disease resulting from the use of moss litter. Tenderness in the foot is first noticeable, which tenderness is afterwards followed by a peculiar softening of the horn of the sole and the frog. What should be a dense, fairly resilient substance is transformed into a material affording a yielding sensation to the fingers not unlike that imparted by a soft indiarubber, and as easily sliced as cheese-rind.
Lastly, though the foot is extremely liable to suffer from the effects of extreme dryness or excessive humidity, especially with regard to the changes thus brought about in the nature of the horn, it is perforce exposed at all times to the varying condition of the roads upon which it must travel. The intense dryness of summer and the constant damp of winter, each in their turn take part in the deteriorating influences at work upon it.
Though this subject might be indefinitely prolonged, this brief résumé of the adverse circumstances to which the foot of the horse is exposed is sufficient to point out the extreme importance of its study to the veterinary surgeon. So long as the horse is used as a beast of burden so long will this branch of veterinary surgery offer a wide and remunerative field of labour.
Considered from a zoological standpoint, the foot of the horse will include all those parts from the knee and hock downwards. For the purposes of this treatise, however, the word foot will be used in its more popular sense, and will refer solely to those portions of the digit contained within the hoof. When, in this chapter on regional anatomy, or elsewhere, the descriptive matter or the illustrations exceed that limit, it will be with the object of observing the relationship between the parts we are concerned with and adjoining structures.
Taking the limit we have set, and enumerating the parts within the hoof from within outwards, we find them as follows:
A. THE BONES.—The lower portion of the second phalanx or os coronæ; the third phalanx, os pedis, or coffin bone; and the navicular or shuttle bone.
B. THE LIGAMENTS.—The ligaments binding the articulation.
C. THE TENDONS.—The terminal portions of the extensor pedis and the flexor perforans.
D. THE ARTERIES.
E. THE VEINS.
F. THE NERVES.
G. THE COMPLEMENTARY APPARATUS OF THE OS PEDIS.
H. THE KERATOGENOUS MEMBRANE.
I. THE HOOF.
A. THE BONES.
THE SECOND PHALANX, OS CORONÆ, OR SMALL PASTERN BONE.—;This belongs to the class of small bones, in that it possesses no medullary canal. It is situated obliquely in the digit, running from above downwards and from behind to before, and articulating superiorly with the first phalanx or os suffraginis, and inferiorly with the third phalanx and the navicular bone.
FIG. 1.—THE BONES OF THE PHALANX. 1, The os suffraginis; 2, the os coronæ; 3, the os pedis; 4, the navicular bone, hidden by the wing of the os pedis, is in articulation in the position indicated by the barbed line.
FIG. 2.—SECOND PHALANX OR OS CORONÆ (ANTERIOR VIEW). 1, Anterior surface; 2, superior articulatory surface; 3, inferior articulatory surface; 4, pits for ligamentous attachment.
FIG. 3.—SECOND PHALANX OR OS CORONÆ (POSTERIOR VIEW). 1, Posterior surface; 2, gliding surface for passage of flexor perforans; 3, lower articulatory surface.
Cubical in shape, it is flattened from before to behind, and may be described as possessing six surfaces: An anterior surface, covered with slight imprints; a posterior surface, provided above with a transversely elongated gliding surface for the passage of the flexor perforans; two lateral surfaces, each rough and perforated by foraminæ, and each bearing on its lower portion a thumb-like imprint for ligamentous attachment, and for the insertion of the bifid extremity of the perforatus tendon; a superior surface, bearing two shallow articular cavities, separated by an antero-posterior ridge, for the accommodation of the lower articulating surface of the first phalanx; an inferior surface, also articulatory, which in shape is obverse to the superior, bearing two unequal condyles, separated by an ill-defined antero-posterior groove, which surface articulates with the os pedis and the navicular bone.