Undergraduate Honors Thesis Projects

Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Paper

Degree Name

Equine Pre-Veterinary/Pre-Graduate Studies-BS


Equine Science


Sheri Birmingham, D.V.M.

First Committee Member

Sheri Birmingham, D.V.M.

Second Committee Member

Steffanie Burk, Ph.D

Third Committee Member

Michele Acker, Ph.D


Whole Body Vibration, Horse, Hoof, Hoof Growth, Equine, Vibration Plate

Subject Categories

Large or Food Animal and Equine Medicine


Equine foot pain can be a result of many conditions and disease processes, all of which lead to a loss of function in the horse. When the horse loads the foot, pressure applied to the frog translates to the digital cushion and lateral cartilages, compressing the blood vessels, perfusing the area, and circulating blood back up the leg; this constant flow of blood stimulates growth of the hoof wall. Whole body vibration plates are thought to result in rapid muscle contractions and subsequently, increased circulation through the foot. An increase in hoof growth could prove whole body vibration beneficial as both a treatment option and a preventative care option for horses with damaged, injured, or slow-growing hooves. The objective of this study was to determine if horses treated using whole body vibration plates have significantly different hoof growth when compared to control horses. Data were collected over two separate 12-week time periods. A total of 24 horses were randomly allocated to either the control (n=12) or experimental group (n=12) for the study duration. During Trial 1, horses in the experimental group stood on the plate for 15 minutes per day, 5 days per week. During Trial 2, horses in the experimental group stood on the plate for 20 minutes per day, 5 days per week. On the first day of each trial, a score was made at the quarters of each hoof, just under the coronary band. As the hoof grew, this mark allowed measurement of how much growth occurred by measuring the distance from the mark to the coronary band. Mean hoof growth results for control and experimental groups were compared using independent t-tests with a cutoff significance level of PP=0.058) for increased overall hoof growth by the experimental group (mean 19.3 cm per hoof ± 2.5 cm) when compared to controls (mean 17.7 cm per hoof ± 1.2 cm). There were no differences when comparing specific hooves during Trial 2. This study showed no significant hoof growth rate increase with the use of whole-body vibration at 15 or 20-minute sessions, five days a week.