Talk to me about navicular.
So, I didn't read anything for days after Vinnie's diagnosis.
And then, I read everything from vets, farriers, trimmers, you name it.
Now I want some personal stories, and thoughts on mine, as well.
Bought Vinnie, a 7 year old mustang, in January 2014. He had been started under saddle summer 2013, and was already a great (although green!!!) trail horse that showed a good mind in new situations. He was stocky and comfortable, and a love bug, hence why I bought him.
He never took a lame step in his old home.
I took him when I bought him to a barn with an indoor and rode him 4 days a week. We did everything from ground poles to serpentines to figure 8s to small circles when he would try to get a little feisty and want to canter ;)
He, again, never took a lame step.
I moved him to a new barn May 1, and rode a few times in the ring where he was completely sound, and a few trail rides where he was sound, but I did notice when he followed other horses he would trip every once in a while. I assumed it was a mixture of new trails, and just following nose to butt another horse.
Lame after a trail...
On Memorial Day 2014, I took him for a trail ride. I noticed he felt a little weird on one diagonal, like it was "harder to post" than normal. Then he was INCREDIBLY OUCHY on a rocky portion (he is barefoot), to the point where I moved him over to grass and took an alternate route home. When we got home, I let him go in the paddock and he trotted off lame on his LEFT FRONT.
He has been varying degrees of lame ever since. I had the vet out twice.
FIRST VET VISIT
The first time she came out, he was only a 1/5 and she couldn't nerve block him because she could barely detect his lameness.
She did flexion tests, and he came up NEGATIVE.
Hoof testers were NEGATIVE.
She said he probably had a stone bruise in his left front, and he would be fine. She gave me a five day bute trial, which rendered him sound while he was on it.
His lameness never got fully better. There were days he would seem completely fine, and then he would be off the next day.
He always had heel first landings in both feet.
Second vet visit
Because the lameness wasn't going away, I had the vet out again. The day she was supposed to come, July 3, Vinnie was nearly completely sound on a circle and on a straight line, so I called and moved the appointment to July 7.
Sadly (or luckily?), July 7 he was NOT sound, in fact his lameness had progressed to a 2/5.
The vet was able to nerve block, and when his left front heel was blocked he came up gorgeous-floating-trot-sound.
The vet took xrays and found bone spurs off the medial/lateral sides of his navicular bone, diagnosing navicular disease, saying he would never be sound without full bars and pads. She said he has probably had these spurs for 5 years or so, and that the trail ride I went on probably aggravated it.
The spurs do not seem to touch any tendons/ligaments/DDFT, which is one positive thing, I guess.
She said he MIGHT have the beginnings of a cyst in the middle, but otherwise, the navicular bone itself looks good and there are no "lollipops," etc to be seen.
She mentioned that his trimmer was trimming him too short, and that his foot was pretty out of balance, so he would need to grow more hoof before he can be shod.
This extra time allows me to read.. and a LOT that I have read said that even sound horses can have bone spurs off the SIDES of the navicular bone (that usually this comes from an imbalance), and that a balanced trim can KEEP these horses sound. This gives me hope!
I have not ridden him in almost 2 months, and he is still not fully sound when he trots in the paddock. It's sad :(
Anyway... hoping to try some treatment options and actually tackle this barefoot, which for sure my vet is going to balk at.