Hi! Today my 11 year old Paint was diagnosed with navicular disease. He'd been mysteriously lame on and off for the past two months and at first I thought it was thrush-due to the wet spring we've had in New England. But the X-rays showed otherwise. It's the dreaded N word. I've only had this guy for a year and a half and I'm devastated. The vet said I may get another year or two out of him with eggbar shoes and bute.
Anyone else have experience with this, or is this information somewhere in a previous thread? I just never imagined I'd be dealing with this. Montana is a drop-dead gorgeous tobiano, sweet and full of potential. I'm 58 and thought he and I would "ride out" my horsey years together. Before him I had a QH mare for 15 years before she died. Wow! Sometimes life throws us a whammy! From what I understand, navicular is the kiss of death.
There are severall ways to help with navicular syndrome, special shoes and bute are one way but can lead to other problems with your horse.
Do you have a good farrier - if you do talk to him about shortening the toe to encourage natural heel growth. Your aim should be to get the heels to spread and avoid contraction. If the horse is shod them make sure that he knows not to nail too far back because this will prevent the heels spreading. Make sure that the farrier knows that he is dealing with a horse with navicular , it is possible to have corrective trimming and use flat shoes which should prolong your horses life without causing discomfort.
If your horse is not lame at the moment then regular exersize is a good thing - you need to make sure of normal blood flow to the feet. Turn your horse out as much as possible so as not to have him standing in a stall for long periods.
Bute is good as pain relief but I am told by my vet that it is not good to give it to a horse over long periods - I am told to make sure there is a rest period when the drug is not used - seek vet advice on this though as your vet may have a different opinion to mine.
Good luck with your horse - it is not unmanageable even if at the moment it is uncurable.
Contrary to popular belief, navicular is not a death sentence. It will require much more care and caution on your part but he can still have many good years left in him. I have a grandson of Impressive that was diagnosed with Navicular by 3 different vets when he was 5. With some time off and proper shoeing, he was sound until a couple of years ago (he is now 26). Look for a farrier who has experience with shoeing navicular horses. Bute is meant to be a short term pain reliever, not for long term pain management. Extended use can cause colic and gastric ulcers, :( Not cool. One thing that I noticed with Flash is that he seemed to do much better on flat, smooth ground without sudden angle changes that would put unnecessary stress on his joints and tendons. There is tons of information on navicular on the web and just visit with a good farrier about your options. I wish you luck and hope you find someone who can help. :)
On another note, vets (the same as human dr.s) have to give you the worst case scenario. If he was to say that he could possibly have 10 more years in him and he only lasted 6, there are too many people that would hold him accountable and say "Well, you told me that we had 10 years!!" He is just covering his butt and giving you the shorter of 2 numbers. It also wouldn't hurt to get a second opinion because navicular is often a catch-all for mysterious lameness and there could be a different underlying condition. :)
I highly suggest you look into barefoot trimming for your horse. Done correctly a navicular diagnosis can often be handled with wonderful results. Check out our own Barefoothoofcare members site and look at the case study she has up . You may be able to find someone who can help in this way where you live.
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