Summarized by Laura Wildschut, Equine Physical Therapist and Trainer.
Angular limb deformities (or ALD) in foals describes a condition of crooked legs in newborn foals. Kinesiology taping is very interesting for the use on angular limb deformities in foals.
What is angular limb deformity (ALD)
Angular limb deformities (or ALD) in foals describes a condition of crooked legs in newborn foals. The limb deviation can be seen in either one front, one hind or even more limbs.
A veterinarian should always be consulted on cases with newborn foal leg problems. With exercise of the foal, the stance of the limbs can correct itself in the first couple days after birth, but if not, a treatment should be performed in a timely manner to prevent subsequent problems.
What causes leg deformities in foals
Regularly newborn foals are born with an angular limb deformity. Reasons for this can be for example a poor position in the womb of the mare, a premature birth or other kinds of complications during the birth process of the foal. Further reasons can be developmental problems connected to the growth plate or accidents, like the kick of another horse leading to a trauma.
Symptoms of foal leg problems
A deformity of the forelimbs and hind limbs are generally visible from the front and back as well as measurable. Usually it should be possible to paint a straight line between all the joints from the top of the leg down to the hoof. With angular limb deformities instead of the straight line an angle can be noticed and even measured.
The foal might also show:
- laxity of the ligaments,
- swollen and inflamed joints,
- uneven wearing of the hoof wall or
- incomplete formation of the bones in the affected limb.
Carpus valgus most seen deformity in horses and foals
There are two types of deformities, the so called valgus deformity (lateral deviation of the limb) or varus deformity (medial deviation of the limb). The carpus valgus in one or both front limbs is the most seen deviation in foals. It describes the lateral deviation of the knee.
Prevention of foal leg deformities
To prevent angular limb deformities in foals the breeding management of the mare should be well-conceived. A balanced nutrition of the mare during pregnancy and avoiding unnecessary stress are important factors.
After birth of the foal the risk of outside trauma should be considered and the exercise time and surrounding should be under controlled circumstances at least during the first days.
Veterinary taping foals for angular limb deformities
Kinesiology taping is a technique with elastic orthopedic tapes. One of the effects of the tape is promoting stabilization of anatomical structures, that is why it is very interesting for the use on angular limb deformities in foals.
Step-by-step application of kinesiology taping with foals
In both cases, a 20 cm VetkinTape was applied with 30% stretch over the medial aspect of the affected limb to support the medial collateral ligament of the carpus.
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A 10 cm VetkinTape for the two anchors was wrapped over both ends of the first tape to anchor this first stripe.
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The tape was changed every five days and the foals were reevaluated at 15 days of treatment. Drs. Solange Mikail used ImageJ software to measure the angles of the limbs in the pictures.
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Correction of the limbs with VetkinTape
A foal grows rapidly during the first couple of months, that is why the correction of the limbs with VetkinTape in a timely manner can have a positive effect. The result of the equine kinesiology taping treatment depends on the severity of the limb deformity to begin with. If the treatment is initiated in advance of the physeal closure, the prognosis is generally good. There are conservative and surgical treatment options, depending on the severity and the details of the case.
In the examination of Solange Mikail two foals (one 30 and one 60 days old), each with carpus valgus in one front limb, were successfully treated with applications of VetkinTape.
Research: correlation kinesiology taping angular limb deformities in foals
Drs. Solange Mikail is a veterinarian, animal physiotherapist, member of the ACVSMR and instructor of VetkinTape courses.
During the 10th international congress of the Veterinary Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy (IAVRPT) in Knoxville USA (Juli 30th – August 3rd 2018) was her poster about the correction of angular limb deformities in foals honored as the best presentation.
Carpal valgus deformity dogs
The angular limb deformity (or valgus deformity) in a dog is seen quite often as well. Here are also mainly young animals affected, under the age of one year. The deformities can occur due to trauma or as a result of abnormal bone growth. After the physical examination and taking x-rays, the veterinarian can suggest a treatment plan. Often surgical methods are still used to correct the affected limb. Depending on the case and the severity, applications with VetkinTape can be used to treat the condition. The application with VetkinTape for a valgus deformity in a dog, for example in the carpus, corresponds to the described VetkinTape application for horses.
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Attention: We would like to remind you that certain tape applications, provided on our website are not yet fully scientifically proven. Mentioned applications are based on extensive evaluation and case studies with licensed veterinary physiotherapists and/or other veterinary professionals.