If you are a horse owner then you might have already encountered or heard about navicular disease. This condition is a mystery to many. It can happen any time of the day causing pain and lameness in horses. Once a horse will have a navicular disease then the horse might not have the energy to work out or may be unwilling to walk and move. The increased blood flow in their hooves as well as the shifting of the coffin bone can cause burning pain. This explains the hesitancy of the horse to move around.
Navicular disease is said to be caused by many different factors. One of the main reasons is the improper trimming of the hooves. Irregular maintenance of the hooves can result in abnormal growth which will then result in this condition. The footing that the horse is kept in plays an important role in the growth and wear of the hooves. Once navicular diseases are present, the bone will slowly become immobile which can cause poor circulation of the hoof itself. You can also find severe cases where the coffin bone sank to the flow of the roof. This can pierce the bottom of the hoof which causes a bigger problem. Navicular disease usually happens on the front feet and is usually seen on both. Those horses that are kept in the stall and have high physical demands like being overweight are the ones that are highly susceptible to this condition. You can also find horses that don’t have proper conformation develop navicular disease.
Once your horses have this condition then it is important to act fast to prevent further problems and damage. One of the first solutions to navicular disease is the use of correct shoes. Experts usually recommend the egg-bar shoe together with a rolled or rocker toe. Wedge pads are also being used. These things will help in correcting the pastern angle of the hooves. If your horse already has conformed feet then changing shoes will only have little effect in improving the condition. If the condition is also in its advanced stage then correct shoeing will also have a little positive effect.
Another solution for navicular disease especially for those horses that experienced severe discomfort or pain is non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory medications. Phenylbutazone or bute is commonly used in order to control pain. You also need to know though that some horses will have little or no response to this type of medication. Veterinarians can also prescribe medications that will help increase blood supply. In severe cases, veterinarians will perform a surgery known as neurectomy. This destroys the nerve that is connected to the foot which will reduce significantly the pain that the horse is feeling. This procedure though has a temporary effect.
Another option that is fairly new is the use of oral gallium nitrate. This medication is said to inhibit calcium resorption which is referred to as a hypocalcemic effect. This can result to increase bone turnover. Studies have shown that this new solution for navicular diseases has been effective and has shown great promise. If you have already tried different solutions for navicular diseases but have not seen any significant improvements then trying out the oral gallium nitrate is a good option to help save your precious horse.