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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
:cry: << That's me. VERY SAD.

I made the mistake of taking a horse on trial and falling in love with him before the vet check was done. He truly is an angel of a horse, a dream to ride and just spend time with, and it's breaking my heart to read the vet-check report I got yesterday. I'm new to horses, and I looked for a few months to find just the right horse, and I'm just devastated.

I'm hoping someone who knows a lot more than me and maybe more than this vet can tell me that this horse is still worth buying and using as a lesson (for me only) and trail riding horse. Is there any hope for us?

My apologies in advance for the long post. I'm cutting and pasting the translated vet report here. This was originally done in FRENCH, and my French to English medical translations are crap, so if some of this doesn't make sense, it's my fault. I also have the xrays to include.

I've done a lot of reading about barefoot working well for horses with navicular syndrome. Would going barefoot with this horse help? I'm willing to try just about anything, but what I can't do is buy a lawn ornament. I have to be able to use him. Thanks in advance to anyone who can help me, or at least help me understand why he will never be a horse I can ride.

I want to add that he has never shown lameness while riding, and my instructor who has 30+ years of experience and owns a very busy stable with 20+ horses of her own currently never noticed anything wrong with him. She said she would have bought him without a vet check, so she was shocked when she read the report.

VET EXAM REPORT:

Current activity of the horse : Work on flat ground.
Future use of the horse: Trail rides and riding on flat ground.
General Examination
· Horse presents a good general condition but low muscle mass, temperature 37.2 °c .
· Respiratory examination before and after work, respiratory curve in norms without breathing noise while at work.
· Percussion of sinus normal, parotid within norms.
· Submaxillary and retropharyngeal lymphs slightly sensitive.
· Examination of the mouth revealed the presence of two wolf teeth and a very irregular molar tooth table.
· Palpation articulation temporo-mandibulaire within norms.
· Cardiac examination before and after stress within norms.
· Jugular and venous systems within norms.
· Eye examination without abnormalities.
· Dermatological examination within norms.
· Gynecological examination or rectal search not done .
· The horse has good behavior, it is not deemed a cribber.
Orthopedic examination
· The inspection revealed bowlegged balance on the forelimbs with turning inwards at the fetlock and asymmetry at the front of the hoof with larger lateral portion.
· During the static exam, I noted slightly asymetrical haunches.
· The pinch/clamp tests reveal a sensitivity, heel to heel on both forelimbs.
· Palpation and passive mobilization of the spine revealed a sensitivity in the middle cervical area right side and a strong sensitivity in the lumbar region.
· Shod in conventional steel.
· During the dynamic examination, the horse on hard ground presented lameness grade 1/5 of the right forelimb and right hindlimb (straight).
· The flexion test of the right forelimb induces lameness grade 4/5 on the first strides and grade 2 / 5 on the return trip.
· The flexion test of the left forelimb induces lameness grade 3/5 on the first strides and grade 1/5 on the return trip.
· The flexion test of right hind limb induced lameness grade 1/5.
· The test of the overrated not done. (???)
Radiographic examination
Left forelimb
· Hardening of the facies flexoria of the navicular bone.
· Grade 2 ossification of the supplemental cartilage of the palmer process of the 3rd phalange.
· Presence of numerous synovial processes (fringes?), including a more important one at the lateral angle of the navicular bone.
· Hardening (schlerosis??) of the distal integration of the LCL of the distal interphalangeal joint articulation.
· Modeling (patterning??) in dorso- proximal region of the first phalange.
Right forelimb
· Grade 2 ossification of the supplemental cartilage of the palmar processes of the 3rd phalanx.
· Modeling (patterning??) of the distal region of the lateral sesamoid bone of the metacarpo -phalangeal joint.
· Presence of numerous synovial processes in the distal region of the navicular bone associated with a hardening (schlerosis??).
· Suspected medullary cyst on the distal navicular bone .
· Leger modeling of the dorso- proximal region of the first phalange.
· Default alignment of cortical phalanges.
CONCLUSION: The horse presents elements of serious risk, compromising the envisaged use. The reservations include: • Weak muscles • Bilateral navicular syndrome • Back pain .



 

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You'll have to take my comments with a grain of salt. I am NOT a Vet. I believe that you have a horse with limited use. I understand that some people have had limited success "curing" some navicular problems. I also understand that many of these problems are genetic and many of these problems come from bad animal training/husbandry, that is, working too hard and too long, often too young.
Have you purchased this horse, yet? If not, dry your tears and let him go. If you have already bought him, ask your Vet about what to do.
 

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As long as he is sound then a light ride should not hurt him. I would however put pads on his front feet to help with shock. Along with sport boots. Some horses may have navicular but it doesmean that they cant be used. Just dont ride him hard and try to stay on flat ground. Also low sugar and starch is needed. High fat and fiber would do him best.
 

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You do know that navicular is degenerative, right? So whatever palliatives you use, he's eventually going to be completely miserable and unrideable.

I notice he also has weak musculature and back pain. Was the vet able to determine the cause of the back pain?

Honestly, with everything that's wrong with this horse I wouldn't just pass, I'd run away. If you want a miserable pasture pet for most of his life, then go ahead and buy him. If you want a hardy, long usage lesson/trail horse you need to walk away from this one.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Answering questions from comments:

He is going to be 5 in January, and I believe (don't know for sure), that he has not been worked much. Broken and some limited trail riding and that's it. So I think this issue is inherited, not created from overwork.

The vet did not determine anything regarding the back pain, just that he had it that day. The horse did flinch when pinched hard on the spine, but he never exhibits back pain otherwise.
 

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A very young horse to have navicular. Must have very bad contracted heels. The vet also said he is twisted in front which could put the strain in the wrong place hence the navicular. Nothing you can do about the twisted legs.

I agree with Speed Racer, dry your tears and send him back. he has failed the vet with flying colours take heed that he will only get worse - he wasn't sound on hard ground both in front and behind. You paid the vet for his advice and that would be that he is an unsound horse that will get progressively worse. You paid th vet for his opinion, take it.
A,few,tears,now,at the disappointment he is not yours are better than many more a few years on when he is never sound.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
There are many theories as to whether navicular is genetic and/or inheritable. However your horse got it, it's not going to get better. You may be able to arrest it for awhile, but you can't cure it or stop the progression of it indefinitely.
I guess my next question then is "how long"? If I get his feet in the best shape possible, could he be rideable for 5 years or more? Or are we talking months? Is there any way to know?
 

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You paid the vet for the examination. The horse failed and was not sound when trotted on hard ground. He failed with flying colours.
A few tears now are better than many should you ignore advice and purchase him.

He might be better without shoes but the transition from shod to unshod is not instant. He will get progressively worse, might be in a year or two might be longer but it is a degenerative disease and the fact he has twisted front legs signifies that the stress of this could be the cause of the navicular and nothing is going to straighten the legs now.

Even of you did buy him you are very unlikely to be able to sell him should you wish to.

Pass him back.
 

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I guess my next question then is "how long"? If I get his feet in the best shape possible, could he be rideable for 5 years or more? Or are we talking months? Is there any way to know?
The fact that you said he is only four and the twisted legs, I would say he would be unsound with anything much more than a walk very shortly. He is young, hasn't done much work and is lame doesn't bode well for a riding horse at all.

You do realise that if he did last you five years you would be very unlikely to be able to sell him and would face the fact that he would probably have to be euthanised.
 

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Not really any way to know how long he will be sound. Navicular can often be managed but we're talking about things like injections, special shoes, meds, limited use. Navicular is degenerative and will get worse over time. The outside of the hoof plays a part but the inside is what's causing the problem and that will do as it will. You could end up with a horse who drains your wallet to just be pasture sound or he could be fine for a few more years. You may also end up having to put him down from it.

The back issue is also concerning. He probably is in pain or discomfort all the time but is stoic about it - that doesn't mean the problem isn't there. I would have his saddle fit and pad thoroughly checked.

I would pass, personally. He came up lame, has navicular and has unknown back issues.
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I wanted to point out that the mare I just sent to be a child's occasional trail horse due to unsoundness flexed 2/5 on her bad leg and 1/5 on her good one, and she was not sound enough for intro and training level dressage. No way are you going to be riding a horse flexing 4/5. The injections and shoeing along with watching your horse suffer will drain you, and you will likely never ride this horse as he's going to get worse once he's in work. The navicular at 5 is most likely due to conformation, not just poor shoeing and hard work, so I wouldn't expect a barefoot trim to do something magical. :-( He's going to break your heart one way or another, so I would send him back now rather than watch him suffer slowly.
 

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I will give you a different take. I would want to get a chiro or such to check out his back, but the feet wouldn't worry me overly. *Of course, this is based upon only your little info here, so is very much a generalisation. Depending also on the price of the horse too & what support you may or may not have.

He's only 5yo and he's also already shod, guessing he lives in a 'normal' environment, so it would be unlikely for his heels NOT to be weak. While bony changes and ossification of the lateral cartilages at that age isn't so normal, these problems aren't *necessarily* going to cause further problems or degeneration with good management & function. When 'navicular' is only managed palliatively(until recently it was thought of as 'incurable' so therefore no one tried for more than symptom relief) is when further degeneration is most likely.

I'd get the shoes off, get him trimmed up well(he's 'broken forward' at the pastern for one) and keep him in a healthy environment & lifestyle - lots of low impact exercise, firm ground, etc. I'd be using hoof boots with 'frog support' pads, to allow *comfortable* exercise & for him to start using his feet properly, loading the heels & therefore begin building the strength in those heels.

As he's only 5yo & already has a sore back, I wouldn't be riding him, at least until I'd had a veterinary chiropractor or such to see/treat him. Birthing trauma is a very common cause of pelvic/sacro region injury, which is generally treatable, but riding an immature horse can do serious damage to the spine & pelvis & hocks.
 

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You know...

I'm curious... What has he been used for? I know you said light riding but before that?

My thoughts on the back pain are that they could very well be associated with the heel pain, meaning if you fix the foot problem then you may not have any back issues. I also agree with the idea of getting the chiro out. I'm had my horse adjusted a couple times and it makes a huge difference.

I'm also wondering about the shoes. Why is the horse in shoes if he's only being used for light riding? I'm questioning what the owner may actually know about the health of the horse. 5 is a little bit early to present navicular symptoms.

Navicular is a nasty word because it basically means heel pain and doesn't necessarily mean the degenerative disease. Some horses will have an issue that never gets worse and others will have an issue that steadily gets worse.

I'm dealing with issues right now and have been for nearly two years. It took a year to diagnose because the pain was hidden behind abscesses and back pain. The back pain turns out, was caused from compensation for the foot pain but because of the constant abscesses, x-rays weren't taken for quite some time.

We've played around a ton with his feet. We took the shoes off and went barefoot for about 4 months but he wouldn't go completely sound. Did away with the aluminum wedges and switched to a steel with a bar and went almost completely sound. Added a slight wedge to one of the shoes and now have a completely sound horse Not only that, but his feet have actually grown a size, which is a very good sign. What I'm trying to say is that if you go with this horse, you may be dealing with some pretty expensive shoes. (mine are special made hot shoes). You may have off and on lameness, you may have to supplement with isoxsuprine, you could have degenerative issues or... you could have a nice sound easily maintained horse...

It really is something that you need to think really long and hard about. I promise you, you will fall in love with another horse if you pass him by. I personally... would pass him by.... :(
 
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^^This^^ If you truly like this horse as I strongly perceive you do! My QH suffered from a stone bruise/abscess issue for quite some time, and my vet (a good one too!) advised me to order "Soft Ride" boots for her - they are patented and come with a special insert that support the frogs... they are not cheap, but the company has a good product for horses in need now - they even ship out the same day as ordered...best of luck with him! I think he's a beautiful horse, and if you have the means to keep him, certainly do :)
**Was intended as an addition to reply made by loosie**
 

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I would move him on hes aready got issues and only five find yourself a horse whos sound.

I cant justify keeping horses that cant be riden or only riden lightly.
 

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I'd just like to input this much. You say you're new to horses and riding. Suggesting that you only want to do light riding on this horse is based on your outlook at this moment.

Trust me when I say that although you feel that way now, as you progress with your skill, you'll want more. You'll want to do more adventurous hacks. You may want to start to learn jumping.

Light hacks are great fun, but if you're like most people, you'll always want to learn more. You need a sound horse under you to be able to do that.

Although I'm far from a medical specialist, reading what other more knowledgeable people in this thread are saying, along with my opinions above, it would be my conclusion that this will just end in heartbreak. There's a very good chance you'd look back on the decision a year from now and realize how bad it was. If you had already owned him for 10 years and were willing to retire him to a pasture pet and offer him a retirement in reward for 10 years of faithful service I'm sure you (and all of us) would feel different, but that's not the situation.

As hard as it is...take the advice you're getting.
 

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If you really really want to know you could always get a second vet check with another opinion. If the outcome is the same, you really might have to pass. Although it sucks, the whole point of the vet check is to tell you what you just found out. Sorry :(
 

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If you need a horse that is always going to be sound- pass.

My horse was a rescue. She was starved, and the man who owned her before me tied her back leg up and flipped her to the ground. She had ringbone in both fronts, splints, and was eventually diagnosed as navicular after I had her for a year. That was 10+ years ago.

Her navicular did not really progress, neither did the ringbone. She was always slightly gimpy on her right front, but it never stopped her. I rode her 6 days a week. We did parades, drillteam, team penning, 4H shows, dressage and some small (under 2 ft) cross country jumping. We went camping and I did lots of trail rides.

But... She was never totally sound. Bute helped. I did have to retire her at 16 yrs old due to arthritis in the hind end (probably due to compensating for the front). I could never jump higher than 2 ft, and I spent a lot of time riding other people's horses when she would go lame (she was lame off and on). I missed out on horse shows as one day she was fine and the next she was sore.

Looking back, I don't regret it, as she put up with all the crazy stuff I pulled as a kid. I did ride bridleless and saddleless over jumps, I did gallop at full speed bareback, and I did practice vaulting, jousting etc.

That said, it sounds like the horse you are looking at is fairly lame (my mare was only grade 2 with flexions.) I don't think navicular is a death sentence but it is expensive to manage and the horse could go completely lame tomorrow and be unrideable. You may need to think of nerving if he gets worse, or put him down.

If you pass on him, he may end up being put down or end up in a bad home. Is that something you can live with? At this point he is a rescue, nothing more.

Injections are expensive so you must keep that in mind. $500 for both fronts, maybe more. Shoeing is expensive. My mare did best barefoot, but not all horses can handle that. Hoofboots might help. Soft ride boots are great.

I would guess poor farrier work is contributing to his navicular due to "asymmetry at the front of the hoof with larger lateral portion" Hooves should always be symmetrical.

If you remove the shoes, get him in hoof boots, and get a really good specialist farrier to work with your vet, you might be able to get him more comfortable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Thank you very much to everyone who took the time to reply. I sincerely appreciate your time and efforts.

I am going to pass on the horse. I've cried all night and I cannot stand the idea, but practically speaking, I need a horse I can ride. I'm just broken hearted that he will be sold to someone who probably won't xray him, and I'm sure the owners won't volunteer the information about his heath, and then he'll be ridden until lame. He deserves better than that.
 
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