Trimming and Caring for Navicular Horse

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Trimming and Caring for Navicular Horse

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    09-25-2012, 10:25 AM
Trimming and Caring for Navicular Horse

This is a continuation of my thread of mystery lameness. From researching I have a strong belief my friends horse has navicular. I realize, vet and xrays will tell us for sure but not my horse I can't make those decisions. So, the shoes were removed almost a week ago. I gave him a very conservative trim, I plan to go back again this weekend. Besides the usual barefoot trim, are there any other tips that anyone has for me? His heels are in pretty close to the widest part of the frog. Toes will continue to be brought back although they arent bad. Any other suggestions to get this horse comfortable? And what is the care and management of a horse with navicular? I have simply never owned a horse with navicular nor have I worked on a horse with navicular in over 10 years. The horse does have an old time farrier who I am sure will shoe him, wedge him etc and its winter here now, no reason we can't try to maintain him bare and get him comfortable. So any suggestions would be helpful. I will also research all I can and pass along the info to my friend.
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    09-25-2012, 02:39 PM
Navicular horses

I can tel you what I"M doing with my big warmblood.

We saw 3 vets have been through 4 farriers. My guy showed minor navicular charges "possibly" in his xrays. He showed up lame on his left front one day and never got better. He's a 8 year old WB. KWPN
We blocked his heel and he moved totally sound. Which doesn't necessairly mean for sure Navicular but taken with everythiing else we think he is Nav.

So what has worked for me is shoeing with the Navicular round shoe.
Trying to keep him more up on his toes. He previously had been barefoot and had gotten long toes and the hoof and pastern angles were not correct. Currently we are working on standing him up more and growing out the heel which was pretty contracted.

I'd say he's 90% better just with shoes. ( and I like to keep my guys barefoot if possible) My vet says that they need exercise for blood flow so i'm lounging him in a huge round pen and riding for a total of about half hour 4 times a week.

He's better but not back to 100% sound IMO. There is a medicine that is supposed to improve blood flow I will give that a try in the near future.
I"m also looking for a more knowledgeable farrier as the one I have is not that knowledgeable on Navicular.

Good luck!
    09-26-2012, 12:18 PM
I don't trim so I can't tell you how to trim this horse. If your at all unsure I would suggest contacting other barefoot trimmer professionals in the area for help/advice.

Keep the shoes off him! That's the best thing for this horse. The shoes, wedges etc. are a bandaid solution and don't resolve the actual problem. Pete Ramey describes everything perfectly in an article on his website regarding navicular horses so I recommend checking that out.

Keeping him pastured outside, movement and lots of it is going to be good for him as well. I have less problems with thrush keeping them outside and I find that's the next step in dealing with a "navicular" horse.

I highly recommend also treating for thrush. A lot of people don't see it and won't treat it and they don't think thrush will cause that toe pointing but I'm not so sure about that. Thrush is painful! Especially when it's bad. When I was trying so hard to get my gelding sound when he was dianosed with "navicular" barefoot was his best option and that got him 95% but there was always something still just slightly off. I began spraying his frogs with organic apple cider vinegar. I also soaked and continue to soak his feet on occasion with an activated white lightening solution. It made the world of difference.

I had my horse diagnosed in 2009 through nerve blocks and x-rays. He was lame on the left front (pointing) as soon as we blocked him he was lame and pointing on the right front. The x-rays showed "navicular" changes. The recommendation was your typical shoes etc. but that only put my horse in more pain. I began a barefoot trim with him and have used that since because she was the only person confident this horse could be sound. To this day we ride over rocky terrain without hoof boots and he doesn't have an issue. I keep him on a strict trimming schedule every 4 weeks. This summer (July 2012) I had the same veterinarian back out to x-ray his front feet for the heck of it. The vet's exact words "I wouldn't say this horse has navicular at all" ... I reminded him he diagnosed this horse with navicular 3 years ago. The right front navicular bone had calcified - painful when its happening and they are fine after. My trimmer says its the area healing itself. The left front has NO navicular changes but it hasn't calcfied either.

Hmm a degenerative disease? I was surprised by my geldings recent x-rays. I figured I would see the damange that was done previously, just no additional changes beyond that.

Thrush treatments (non hamrful to healthy tissue) -
Pete Ramey - Pete Ramey writes about white line disease thrush navicular disease hoof balance
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    09-26-2012, 12:32 PM
Agree with Quarterhorseluv on Pete Ramey. Another site with how to trim for navicular is Really easy to follow instructions and clear explanations, also some good tips for thrush.
    09-26-2012, 03:19 PM
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    09-26-2012, 03:27 PM
Hey I LOVE to keep my horses barefoot. Maybe
I just don't have a good trimmer? I was having my
Wb trimmed every 5 weeks. He was seen by multiple
Trimmers and farriers and he never would get sound.
I've read that Pete Ramey says he can fix any
Navicular horse pretty much and I beleive its
Possible FOR PETE RAMEY. Unfortunately
I have yet to run across a farrier with his skill
And commitment. If anyone knows a good barefoot
Trimmer in southern ms or La please PM me. I dont
Like the shoes but feel like I've run out of options.
There are a few certified trimmers in my srea but
Even tho I've called and emailed I've yet to get a
Call back or reply to emails.
Thanks all! ; )
Posted via Mobile Device
    09-26-2012, 08:23 PM
Hi Jetson, pics would help, or are there some on the other thread? Fresh after a trim if poss. What're the basics? Age of horse, etc?

Originally Posted by Jetson    
From researching I have a strong belief my friends horse has navicular. I realize, vet and xrays will tell us for sure
'Navicular syndrome' is effectively just unexplained heel pain. 'Navicular disease' is what the vets call it when these symptoms come with changes to the nav bone. There is not necessarily a correlation between lameness/unsoundness & bone changes though. Treating the problem - toe first impacts, weak heels, underrun or too low heels, toe first impacts, 'broken back' pastern axis, long toes, toe first impacts, etc - early enough can prevent the bony changes from happening. Horses can and have become sound with the right treatment after diagnoses of 'navicular disease'.

Did I mention toe first impacts are a big problem?? Because of the weak heels, he will want to be 'tippy toeing' to relieve the heel discomfort. But allowing him to stay on his toes will lead to further concussion & damage to the joints/bones & reduce bloodflow due to pressure on coronal and circumflex arteries and lack of circulation/function in the back of the foot. So IME whatever can get him *comfortably* using & building those weak heels is good. Allowing him to spend time on a bed of 'pea gravel' or such is very helpful.

other tips that anyone has for me?
Pete Ramey's site again. Dr Bowker's studies will make for a (heavy but) insightful read. Pad his heels as/when necessary to provide further *comfortable* stimulation & provide protection to encourage heel first impacts. Depending on terrain & state of feet, possibly leave the heel buttresses slightly longer than 'ideal' to provide a slight 'buffer zone'. Keep the toes right back. Free movement & lots of exercise *so long as the horse can be made comfortable enough to start using his heels.

old time farrier who I am sure will shoe him, wedge him etc and its winter here now, no reason we can't try to maintain him bare and get him comfortable.
Yes, I think you can indeed *generally* do better than a palliative of shoes. It's also something that tends to take a fair while to get worse. So it's well worth trying to treat the problem before resorting to palliative measures.
    09-27-2012, 09:27 AM
Loosie, thanks for all the input. The horse is 10 years old. From what I know, old owner was very bad about keeping his feet done (horse was bare for 4 years) and wasnt much of a horse person, rode a few times a year always at a walk. He sold the horse, new owners realized he had some strange hitch in his gait, they wanted to use him for more than a trail horse and decided to work with previous owner to get him sold. My friend bought him knowing he had some "slight" issue that honestly did not show its ugly head for about 4 months. Then after a few rounds of shoeing I think it made things more obvious to the point where the horse showed serious signs of pain and rudeness appeared. He is now bare and I hope to get over there within the next few days to see how he is doing and also trim him again as my first trim I didnt want to do a lot. I will ask the owner if I can take pics. But, the horse is being sold because his new rudeness has broken the owners husbands bones and he is no longer trusted and wow was he such a good boy previously. Although bute is helping with his behavior. Its all pretty sad. So my work with this horse is limited to only until he is sold.
    09-27-2012, 08:24 PM
Originally Posted by Jetson    
So my work with this horse is limited to only until he is sold.
Hmm, sold? Doesn't sound like he's actually worth anything. Are your friends looking for a good home for him that are going to put the money & effort into his rehab, or do they just want to be done with him? If they only want to be done with him, might be kinder to get the knackery to take him, rather than just passing him on. And if no one's going to care for him properly, I would advise shoes might be for the best, because at least they should make him more comfortable in the short term.
    09-28-2012, 09:28 AM
Oh, she is trying hard to find him a good home and someone who is willing to put the money into him for vet care etc. But of course the problem is as you said, at this point he isnt worth much. So her choices are, pay the money for the xrays and find out what is truly going on, or basically give him to someone who is willing to put the money into him, which lets be honest those people are hard to find. Not many people are going to take a chance on a horse that has "mystery" lameness even if the horse is free. As all horse people know, there isnt usually any such thing as a "free" horse, somehow they manage to suck all our money! She is definitely stuck between a rock and a hard place. Although her other option is to keep him through the winter and continue on the bute and continue on with his feet and see if he gets more comfortable. As most horse people, she is not rolling in the dough so here she is with a horse that has broken her husbands bones, she doesnt trust, wants to sell him and now she has to sink money into him. Its not that she hates the horse and she certainly wont allow him to be treated cruely but she wants him to find a new home. Her and her husband are not spring chickens and her 80 year old mother also lives with them and enjoys going in the barn and even sometimes cleaning stalls while home alone with the horses free raoming in them! So dealing with a horse who has become unruly is quite tough for them. I will continue to help all I can and wish them the best of luck with this. Its really too bad, Im hoping its a terrible abscess!

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