Navicular Disease

Topics: Horse, Navicular bone, Equine forelimb anatomy Pages: 2 (810 words) Published: October 13, 2010
Navicular Disease

The Navicular Disease is a relatively common ailment found in horses lower legs. It is a serious disease that can cause a horse to be permanently crippled. It is non reversible but you can keep it from getting worse. Veterinarians don’t agree on what it really is or how it happens. Some physicians say that it’s entirely related to the structure of the hoof and the way the horse travels. It was first described 250 years ago, when it was called “coffin joint lameness” because the lameness came from inside the horse’s hoof. It wasn’t until about a century later, that they started calling it “navicular joint disease”. According to Dr. Hiltrud Strasser navicular disease can be caused from excessively long bars and heels. The actual navicular bone is not were the pain comes from it is the surrounding bones. The digital arteries get pinched from the inflammation of the navicular bone causing congestion. This congestion of blood vessels actually causes bone loss in both the navicular and coffin bone. The corium adjacent from the navicular bone also gets inflamed from the odd position of the navicular bone caused from the improper foot or improper shoeing. According to one of Dr. Strasser’s studies, pulling the shoes off and turning the horse out “in gentle country” for several months can be very beneficial to the treatment of this lameness. By pulling the shoes off you are allowing the hoof to grow to its natural shape and therefore allowing the proper alignment of the bones in the lower leg. 100% of horses with navicular disease have underslung heels and bars. This is abnormal and makes the heel soar. The horse will start walking on its toe o escape the pain this makes a gap between the coffin bone and middle phalanx that the navicular bone comes into. This is what causes the congestion. There are other things that the vet should consider before diagnosing the horse with navicular disease. Chronic heel collapse and torn deep flexor tendon...
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