Debra Ruffin Taylor, DVM, MS, DACVIM-LA
Department of Clinical Sciences
Debra Taylor’s passion is equine podiatry – the professional study, care, and treatment of the foot. Dr. Taylor’s interest lies in discovering methods to readjust the load of a laminitic foot to promote healing. Understanding the mechanics of blood flow, weight distribution, and local anatomic structures of a healthy foot compared to that of a laminitic foot will allow for treatment management options to be developed to improve the prognosis of horses suffering from laminitis.
The focus of Auburn’s podiatry research is to investigate the natural adaptations of bone and soft tissue to load and imposed demands on the equine hoof. We hypothesize that the collateral cartilages and digital cushion of horses remodel in response to certain types of exercise. If this is true, exercise protocols may be designed to improve overall hoof health. We have established a method to evaluate the volume of the collateral cartilages and digital cushion and the fibrocartilage percentage of the digital cushion with advanced imaging and computer analysis software. We collaborate extensively with the private sector hoof care industry and hope to make big advances in this area with the presence of a new state-of-the-art MRI facility on campus.