Help with navicular injury


    Sorry for not replying earlier, but I work on my websites only in my spare time, usually on weekends. Regarding your question on the treatment of navicular lameness the answer is fairly simple; there is no cure or treatment. When a horse suffers from the pain associated with the navicular region it is about management and not about cure. In order to manage the injury, and mainly the pain in it, we must know the history, or better said know the circumstances, that caused it (how the horse got there and the present state). Further more the extend of the injury must be approximated since it has many variables and the management differs in many of the cases, hence giving you an advice on how to treat your particular case would be irresponsible from my end.
   I have managed several horses afflicted with this injury owned by other owners but in no case horse was put on stall rest, but some were put on restricted movement (small pen (
deep and supple surface, not dead sand) to prevent them from running (gallop), keeping the horse from traveling on hard surfaces etc.). The stall rest is mainly for horses that have some sort of fractures and I presume that it is not your case. Very important part in managing the navicular pain (stress) is the shoeing or trimming of the hoof, which also differs in various cases of this injury. All in all there are simple criteria to follow. First, stop doing with the horse that, which caused this injury. 

   Not less importantly concentrate on reducing the inflammation in and around the afflicted area, usually putting the horse on small doses of Bute (1 pill per day) for longer period of time (2 to 4 weeks).
   Second a therapeutic treatment (shoeing) is implemented; in extreme cases the reverse shoe (see pic) serves the purpose (for 3 to 6 shoeing).
   Third, keep the horse from traveling on hard surfaces and from galloping or from any extended gaits, while eliminating training in restricted areas like arenas, the latter to reduce the
lateral stress on the navicular region. The best training areas for horses recovering from, or being prone to, the lameness associated with navicular bone are open grass fields. 

    All in all you also need to evaluate your plans for the horse and what you want to do with it in the future. Some people had their horses nerved, and continued in what ever they were doing. In some horses this works and in some not, hence the vets will give you no guarantee on the results of this simple surgery (not without side effects). In any case the decisions should be made by some one that has experience in dealing with this lameness (several cases) and also has good results in bringing the horses close to normal. I cannot help you since I do not know anything about the situation, the horse, how he got lame or the extend of the injury. Most veterinarians lack the experience in dealing with this injury since it is mainly about management (farriery, daily care, observations and mainly the proper adjustments in using the horse), which they of course lack. They usually follow some protocol, or something they’ve studied or read, always failing to recognize the individual cases and their nature.

Sorry for not being able to help, but more on this issue will be published on the websites someday soon (management of individual cases and the variables).



Ps: Get a second opinion (evaluation).

Written by Ludvik K Stanek a.k.a Lee Stanek