Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Understanding The Navicular Disease In Horses

By Annabelle Holman

The Navicular area is the region on the front feet near the hooves of the horses. Navicular disease in horses is not a terminal illness. It can actually be compared to an athlete who has bad feet. The bad feet do not mean that the athlete cannot run ever again. It can be cured helping them to get back to their normal level of performance. This disease can also be cured. This article looks at some facts about this ailment including the causes and treatment.

In order to identify if a stallion has this sickness, the vet typically uses radiographic proof and also the bodily observations. A chain of x-ray checks are usually carried out to show that the bodily signs are not as a result of any other causes of lameness. This can help the vet to avoid allocating the wrong medicines.

A horse that suffers from this illness shows various signs. Some of them include signs of front leg lameness. For some it is shown on one leg while on others it is usually both feet. One leg may show signs of being worse than the other. These horses may be seen stumbling when this happens. It can happen to a horse of any age but it is most common on those between the ages of 7 and 14 years.

There are several tests that can be done physically on the horse to know if they suffer from this ailment. First, you can observe the behavior of the animal when landing. If it brings the front feet forward slightly so that the weight is more on the toe and not on their heel then it may have the illness. Hoof testers can be used to test the response to pain. You can also observe the size of the hooves as the sick one will be smaller because they must have been relieved from pressure for a while.

One can also identify this illness by using anesthesia. This medicine anesthetizes the foot so that the horse stops feeling any type of pain in that area. If the horse ceases the abnormal actions such as staggering then you will recognize the area with the problem.

Correct shoeing is the simplest way of treating this ailment. The shoes used must be able to balance the hoofs well from back to front and also sideways. The ailment can also be treated with the use of drugs that dilate the blood vessels making the flow of blood to increase around the navicular area. Most horses respond well to this treatment but in varied periods of time.

The ailment can also be treated through some exercise routines that will help to increase the flow of blood in the affected areas. The exercise should be done at least six days a week for thirty to sixty minutes. The main need of the exercise is to train the horse to balance the amount of pressure applied on the front and hind legs.

There are nonetheless some horses that rarely respond to the treatment methods mentioned above. In such a case, a surgical technique is usually applied to cut the hovering ligaments in the navicular area. It also includes neurectomy on the back digital nerve.

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