Equine Science Class Participates in Hoof and Distal Limb Dissection at Piedmont Equine Practice

Animal Science Concentration Coordinator and STEM teacher Katie Hergenreder recently took her Equine Science students on a field trip to the Piedmont Equine Practice in The Plains, VA, to participate in a dissection of the hoof and distal limb of a horse. Students worked with veterinarians Dr. Jena Porto and Dr. Christy Moore and received a tour of the facility after the dissection. Following are two student reflections on the experience.
By Csenge V. ’21
On Thursday, February 13, our class went to the Piedmont Equine Practice to watch a distal limb dissection with Dr. Moore and Dr. Porto. It was an awesome opportunity to see and get a better understanding of what is inside of a horse's leg in real life, not just in pictures. First, we went through all the bones in the lower leg and then Dr. Moore started to dissect, showing us all the ligaments and tendons. She was really detailed about everything, and even let us touch the tissues. It was interesting to feel the surface of the superficial and digital ligaments and I was surprised how soft and smooth they were.

As a showjumper, I was especially interested in the injuries that are more likely to happen with jumper horses. As Dr. Porto explained to us, jumpers are more likely to suffer injuries in the superficial tendon and the suspensory ligament because these absorb the biggest part of the shock associated with jumping. This really helped me to better understand what's behind the injuries that my horses have had during the past years. I am grateful for this experience, and I definitely learned a lot!

By Nell N. ’20
Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to attend a hoof and distal limb dissection of a horse at Piedmont Equine with their associate vet, Dr. Porto. We began the dissection by going over some of the basic anatomies of the skeleton, tendons, and ligaments so that we would know what we were looking at. We also looked at a cross-section of the hoof and discussed the anatomy and possible injuries of the area. Dr. Porto then took the skin off the leg and we looked at the anatomy up close. 

We discussed the blood flow throughout the distal limb and looked at the major arteries. We also had the opportunity to ask about various distal limb injuries and conditions. We could see the extensor tendon lying along the front of the cannon bone. We were also able to see how the superficial digital flexor tendon wraps around the deep digital flexor tendon. The tendons were much denser than I expected, and it was interesting to see how they all lay on top of one another. As we got deeper into the leg, we were able to see the suspensory tendon and how it splits across the sesamoid bones. We also saw some of the smaller tendons that connect and support the pastern bones. We also got the chance to look at the fetlock joint and see how it connects, as well as the way the fluid lubricates it. 

After the dissection was concluded, we got a tour of the facilities at Piedmont Equine and got a sense of how it would be to be a practicing vet.
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