Monday, June 16, 2014

Tips On Managing Navicular Disease

By Ina Hunt

Just like humans, horses can suffer from chronic conditions that are caused by damage or inflammation to their bones and joints. Even in the case of a horse who has been well cared for since birth, sudden lameness can occur. It is up to the owners, trainers and barn managers to keep a close eye on every animal and know their way of moving and typical behavior.

Most horses are surprisingly tough and can get through many difficult situations without a problem. Yet with all the care in the world there are some conditions that will manifest simply because of an inherent weakness within the animal. Navicular disease is one such condition. If the animal has the prerequisite problems it is almost inevitable that sooner or later they will present with the classic signs of chronic lameness.

The condition is caused when the small but important navicular bone experiences stress or begins to degenerate. This is often a hereditary condition that affects certain breeds of horse. Quarter horses, with the stocky bodies and small feet and most commonly affected. Some blood lines are well known to be prone to the condition and should be avoided if possible.

The signs of a problem with the navicular bone are quite distinct and easy to spot. The lameness will be in the front feet, typically both feet are affected although one is usually worse than the other. The horse will usually present with a shorten stride and the lameness will be especially noticeable when the horse trots on hard ground. The other classic symptom is the horse who points his toes whilst at rest. This is in an attempt to relieve the pain and discomfort they feel and take the pressure off their heels.

As soon as the horse begins to show signs of lameness it is crucial to call in an experienced veterinarian. They will perform a thorough lameness examination and try to pin down the cause. Navicular is a relatively easy condition to diagnose as it presents with a very typical set of symptoms.

As the horse begins to experience chronic and consistent pain in his front feet he will often adopt the habit of pointing his toes whilst resting. This is a classic symptom of navicular problems and should be taken very seriously. The horse is trying to take the stress off their toes and leans back onto their heels. This in turn can lead to additional issues and problems.

Correct shoeing is one of the most valuable treatments for a horse diagnosed with navicular. It is vital to find a really good farrier who understands the anatomy of the hoof correctly. They can design and fit special shoes that will help to relieve the pressure on the foot and make the horse more comfortable.

Special shoes are one of the best ways to help keep a horse comfortable and in work. The shoes have a bar across the heel that helps to distribute the impact of the foot on the ground. Fitting thick pads under the shoes is another way to help make the animal more comfortable. Seeking out a really good farrier is one of the most important things an owner can do to give their horse the best chance to stay sound and keep working.

About the Author:

No comments:

Post a Comment