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Navicular disease in horses

Navicular Disease In Horses

Navicular disease in horses is characterized by sporadic and slowly increasing lameness in the front feet.

Horses with navicular disease may display a shortening of their stride especially when going downhill. There is also likely to be reluctance while turning. The lameness may also switch from side to side on account of the fact that the condition affects the front feet to differing extents. But what causes navicular disease in horses? The condition is known to occur when the navicular bone starts to gradually deteriorate.

This bone is located near the heel at the back of the foot. In some cases, a veterinarian may make the diagnosis of navicular syndrome in order to refer to all the soft tissues that surround the navicular bone. Navicular disease in horses treatment should be sought immediately as it can be quite debilitating.

The exact cause of navicular bone deterioration is unknown, although it is believed to be a type of degenerative disease such as arthritis.

Navicular disease in horses treatment options in such cases are limited to providing relief and restricting the severity of the condition. In many cases the condition affects horses that are subjected to high level of hard work. Horses that work on hard surfaces are also vulnerable to navicular disease. One of the main causes of lameness in horse feet is foot problems. But there are also signs of navicular disease in horses that veterinarians need to consider before making a diagnosis. Some people believe that horses with small, upright or large hooves are more at risk for this disease. However there is not much evidence to support this notion. There are certain risk factors that have been proven. Performance horses that spend a significant amount of time running hard tend to be more susceptible to this condition. The disease is also more bothersome for these horses. Navicular disease also tends to affect horses between the ages of seven to eleven years. One of the common symptoms of this disease is ‘pointing’ wherein the horse tends to stand with the front feet further away from the body. Soreness and bruising of the heels are also symptoms of navicular disease in horse.

Navicular disease in horses treatment options are limited and offer no cure if there is deterioration of the navicular bone. However certain steps can be taken to improve the comfort of the horse. Treatment of navicular disease in horses involves changing the shoeing or trimming techniques so that strain on the bone is alleviated. In severe cases the nerves in the area may have to be removed through a neurectomy. Treatment also involves the use of anti-inflammatory and pain relieving medications.

  Submitted on August 24, 2010