Detailed Overview of Navicular Disease in Horses
The navicular syndrome commonly known as a navicular disease is a degenerative bone disease that results in lameness. In the past navicular syndrome was thought to be caused by a single factor, but veterinarians have discovered it is contributed by multiple components. Lameness is the classic sign of the navicular syndrome. This can occur suddenly, but the common pattern is mild lameness that gradually becomes worse with time. Unfortunately, the navicular syndrome has no cure and treatment focuses on slowing down the disease and managing signs and symptoms. One way you can manage the condition is by ensuring the horse gets enough rest, ideal shoeing, and proper medications like inflammatory drugs. This article presents you with some details relating to symptoms, causes, diagnoses, and treatment of navicular disease in horses.
Navicular disease is more of a syndrome because of the multiple signs the condition displays.
The symptoms of navicular syndrome may include but are not limited to, intermittent lameness, chronic lameness, poor balance, and short strides, horse keeps stumbling when ridden, and enlarged digital vessels. It is worth noting that currently there is no cure for the navicular disease, but veterinarians manage or treat symptoms and slow down the effects of the conditions.
There is no known exact cause of navicular disease. However, veterinarians believe genetics play a central role in predisposing some horses to this condition over others. Veterinarians also suggest that some biomechanical components relating to pathogenesis may explain the cause of this condition.
Diagnoses of the navicular disease are largely based on the presentation of the horse. The average age that has been associated with developing a navicular disease is 7-11 years. This displays the degenerative nature of this condition. However, the navicular disease has also been seen in horses as young as 3 years though occasionally. While it is difficult to ascertain that a particular horse will or will not develop navicular disease some breeds of horses such as Quarter horses, Appaloosas, Paints are more prone to this condition. Lameness evaluation is required to diagnose navicular disease, but it is worth recognizing that when testing for pain using hoof testers the response is rarely positive. A radiograph check of the entire area is important because it gives the veterinarian ability to assess the area damaged by the condition if present. A veterinarian can lunge the horse to see his response. In case the navicular disease is present the horse will exhibit lameness. It is also possible to diagnose navicular disease by flexion test because it intensifies lameness.
Rest is among the best way to treat or manage navicular disease in horses. However, the rest should be considered otherwise the horse start developing other problems. Although the navicular disease cannot be cured but managed there are effective treatments of the symptoms. The condition can be managed with appropriate anti-inflammatory medications. Shoeing the horse correctly has also been observed to improve navicular disease in horses. Injecting the horse with a corticosteroid into the area has been observed to reduce lameness and improve the soundness of the horse. Therapy such as laser light has been seen to speed up the horse healing process.