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Equine Case of the Month, March 2022

Foreign Body Penetration

A 15 year old mare was found in the field with a metallic foreign body at the lateral aspect of her coronary band. She was grade 4/5 lame. The owner left the wire in place and called the vet. Radiographs were obtained with the foreign body in situ. 

Imaging findings:

DP (1920 × 980px)

The radiographs show a metallic wire (red arrows) extending from the palmarolateral aspect of the coronary band, extending distally, palmarly and axially to finish at the dorsoaxial margin of the lateral palmar process of the distal phalanx. The wire does not appear to contact the palmar process, but may contact the abaxial margin of the lateral ungual cartilage. The wire does not extend into the region of the synovial structures of the foot. 

At the site of entry of the foreign body there is moderate irregular tissue, consistent with damage to the hoof wall (blue arrows). There is moderate soft tissue swelling at the lateral aspect of the limb (yellow arrows). 


Penetrating metallic foreign body of the left front foot, with possible penetration of the lateral ungular cartilage. Secondary cellulitis and oedema/lymphangitis of the digital soft tissues.

Trauma to the ungual cartilages can lead to infection or necrosis of the cartilage (Quittor). 

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