Q: What is the Equine Digit Support System and what is it used for?
A: The Equine Digit Support System (EDSS) is therapeutic horseshoeing system that is used for treating lower limb pathologies such as: laminitis, founder, Navicular Syndrome, Ringbone, and underrun and contracted heels. It is comprised of a pair of shoes, pads, impression material and attachment parts that can be used for adjusting the comfort of the system without removing the shoe and pad. Especially in cases of laminitis and founder, the ability to offer protection to the coffin bone, support the limb internally, and make regular adjustments to frog support and tendon tension is key for success. The EDSS is the only system on the market today that offers the flexibility and adjustability necessary for safe and effective equine lameness treatment.
Q: Can different size EDSS shoes be used with different size EDSS parts?
A: Some of the EDSS parts are interchangeable throughout sizes. If necessary, you could use for example a Medium EDSS Pad with EDSS Shoes sizes (00 - 3), however; it may not work to its optimal potential, so when possible, it is best to use the corresponding pads with the recommended shoe size. (Small = 00-0, Medium = 1-2, Large = 3-4)
The Wedge Rails are all the same size (but different heights) and fit all sizes of shoes.
The Frog Inserts can be interchanged similarly to those of the shoes and pads, however, the small (white) Frog Inserts don't work very well on medium or large EDSS Pads. However, the Medium and Large Frog Inserts can be trimmed down easily to fit smaller EDSS pads, so in general they are pretty easilty interchanged.
Q: Can Wedge Rails be purchased in sets of the shortest rails only?
A: Aluminum Wedge Rails are sold in Pairs, so you can purchase them by height. Unfortunately the Plastic Wedge Rails can only be purchased as a whole set (4 short, 4 mid and 4 tall) at this time. We hope that in the future we will be able to offer them in mixed sets, but until that time we will have to get by with sets of all 3 heights. The tall rails can be made into shorter rails with some modifications. Please review the Natural Hoof Prints article, "Too Many Rails?".
Q: Can I use the white beaded Styrofoam for treating acute lameness?
A: NO! The white beaded Styrofoam is not dense enough for this purpose and will end up being more trouble than it's worth. The best Styrofoam is a very dense construction grade Styrofoam. Please see the EDSS Styrofoam Pads for the best functional Styrofoam.
Q: What is Sole Support Impression Material and how is it used?
A: Sole Support Impression Material is a 2-part elastimer material that when mixed together, will cure to a rubber-like consistency (similar to that of the frog). We offer three (3) types (each for its own purpose), however 85% of the time we prefer the REGULAR (pink) consistency. However, there are times when a softer impression material might be required, therefore the SOFT (blue) material is available for those time. We also offer a FIRM (yellow) material, however the use of this consistency is less frequent. Each consistency has their place, which is why EDSS is the first and only manufacturer to offer 3 types.
To use Sole Support Impression Material, you mix an equal part of each color (base & catalyst) together and it is fully blended. The mixed material is then pressed into the bottom of the horse's foot and we usually tape a hard plactic pad over the top of it to allow it to set up. When the horse puts pressure on the foot, the impression material is spread throughout the entire sole surface of the foot, and especially into the frog commissures. This allows for LOAD SHARING and distributing the weight over the entire ground surface of the foot, which takes pressure off of isolated areas that may be sore. When the hard plastic pad (Impression Pad) is removed after the material sets up, a more flexible pad (preferable one with a molded, ground level frog insert like the Natural Balance Pad) and shoe is applied. In some instances, the final pad and shoe can be nailed on right away (without using an impression pad, before the material sets up), however; you need to make sure the foot is placed on the ground the horse bears weight before it sets up to insure full distribution of the material.
The purpose of the impression material is distribute support and share the load. When the horse walks or runs, contact between the ground and the frog insert distributes support evenly throughout the entire sole surface of the foot. Support is transferred to the frog, the digital cushion and lateral cartilage within the foot. This will allow the Natural Biomechanics of support and circulation to occur.
Q: Can I use the molded Impression Material a second time in the foot when the horse is reset?
A: NO! New Impression Material must be used for each shoeing. The foot changes with each reset and therefore, to place the molded material back into the changed foot would feel very much like having your sock balled up inside your shoe. Very Uncomfortable!
Q: Are EDSS Shoes and Natural Balance® Shoes for the front feet only?
A: The EDSS and Natural Balance® Shoes are designed specifically for front feet. Most hind feet tend to be a little narrower at the toe due to the different demands placed upon them and the differences in the shapes of their coffin bones, therefore a slightly different pattern of shoe is needed. The Elite Hind Shoes, Centre Fit Hinds, CF Performance Hinds, TK Sliders & Vulcan Hinds are the prefered shoes when steel is needed or desired. Thoro'Bred RPC & Victory RPC make some nice aluminum hind pattern shoes if you need to use aluminum. There are certain pathologies like Negative Plane Distal Phalanx syndrome where front NB shoes (steel or aluminum) can be very helpful for initial treatment, however we do not typically use them for long term or performance situations.
Q: What is the difference between the Steel Natural Balance Shoe & the Centre Fit Shoe?
A: At first glance, the original Steel Natural Balance shoe and the Centre Fit shoe are the same. However, there are a few differences. The Steel NBS has a reverse arc at the inner rim of the toe to allow for additional coffin bone protection. The Centre Fit shoe is straight across the inner rim of the toe. The Steel NBS has a slightly straighter configuration to the branches, while the CF shoes have slightly more arc. The CF shoes have a higher inner rim that goes the full length of the nail fullering. This allows for slightly better M/L leverage reduction. The Steel NBS has a slightly higher inner rim, but not as noticable as the CF. The Steel NBS has a concave inner rim, while the CF has a convex inner rim. Lastly, the Centre Fit shoes all have a "Centering Mark" on the inner rim of the shoe to make sizing and fitting more accurate.
The SNBS and CF shoe dimensions (width, length & thickness) are pretty much identical. The CF shoe may weigh just slightly less because of the lower outer rim, but for the most part the weights are similar.
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