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Hi everyone, I'm new here. Lately I've been thinking about what to do with my navicular mare. Here is a little history. I've owned her since she was 6, and is now 22. She's a big boned tb, never raced. She was leased out for several years, and I got her back about 3 years ago, and was told she had navicular when I got her back (nice I know, I had no idea and thought everything was going fine). So of course the day I got her back, I had my vet and farrier out to see how bad she was. She was x-rayed, and there is degeneration in both front feet, and her front right has calcification on the ligament (can't remember what the name of it was, the one that goes in the back of the pastern). So she continued on her isox (she was on 30 a day when I got her back), given bute for a week and I started her on smart pak senior flex (works great). She improved, and I eventually got her down to 5 isox a day (I know it's not much, but I've taken her off of it before thinking it wasn't doing anything, and she goes lame), she takes smart pak senior flex and bute twice a week currently. She also wears aluminum egg butt bar shoes with pads and silicone injected under the pad. I don't ride her, she goes out for a few hours a day to move around, and basically just hangs out. In the last few weeks she has become very sore on her right front (the worse one). She gets her feet done every 6 weeks and is very well taken care of. I'm just worried that she is going down hill. She shuffles and trips when she comes out of her stall and limps when she walks. I know she has navicular and will never be 100% and I don't expect her to be. She has had navicular for many years, probably 10-12 years. I was just wanting to know first of all if you guys have any other suggestions that have helped your navicular horses (I know I can up her isox, which I plan on doing) besides nerving and going barefoot (she has never been able to go barefoot, even before she had problems with navicular), and when you think it's time to let them go? I'm hoping it's just a flare up and with some extra medicine she will get better, but she usually moves pretty sound at the walk, and still likes to kick up her heels once in awhile!! I really hate to think about it, but I'm sure one day I will have to put her to sleep and it breaks my heart to think about it. I wouldn't consider it anytime soon as she's still happy and eating. But will she eventually get to the point where she can't move anymore, I don't know how bad it gets, I've never had a navicular horse before. Any suggestions would be appreciated!!
 

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The farm I used to board at had a mare that had bad navicular and was older. Even though she was stiff she seemed genuinely happy. Her ears would perk up and she'd occasionally give a bit of a trot here and there but mostly just walked around some and stood around a lot. The herd she was with would tear around the field and always return to her which was adorable. She lasted well on just supplements and although not exactly lame or sound she seemed perfectly content. She finally met her end when she slipped and fell on some mud, the navicular had caused just enough problems that once she went down she could not get back up - even with the help of 4 or 5 grown men - and was put down. Only you will know when it's time to let your horse go and they are no longer enjoying life anymore.
 

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Have you done any injections in the navicular bursa or coffin joint? Have you considered Tildren infusions or a course of Adequan/Legend? Have you looked into alternative shoeing protocol? Is a neurectomy an option for your horse, according to your vet, as an end-of-the-line thing?

Unfortunately, I'm going through a similar situation with my Paint gelding, and the outlook for him is not good, either.
 

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Hi,

Don't want to give you false hope & unfortunately,if the problem is severe & been ongoing for many years, it may be beyond actually helping & palliative care may well be the best you can give her. However, it is definitely conceivable that with alternative treatment her feet could improve and become sound, so well worth looking into.

For whatever reason - commonly lack of development of the caudal hoof of domestic horses that spend the majority of their lives on soft pasture or stalled - the horse has had sensitive heels, so she has likely been landing toe-first, which has put extra strain on a number of different areas, including the navicular region, which has over time led to bony changes & further heel lameness. Heartbars, wedges & the likes do tend to take the heels further out of the equation & provide some releif to the pain. Unfortunately because they don't address the problem, but generally worsen it - lack of heel use, toe first landings - it tends to be temporary and bigger wedges are needed for the same pain releif, until the horse is too far gone to help.

Take a good look at hoofrehab.com & learn as much as you can from other sources as well, for other options that actually do treat the problem, not just the symptoms. For eg. using padded hoof boots may be effective at keeping the horse comfortable and allowing her hooves to function properly, so therefore strengthen them. Look up Dr Robert Bowker too, for one source of scientific studies & info into the hows & whys of caudal hoof breakdown.
 

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she goes out for a few hours a day to move around

you said she is stiff when she is let out of her stall, she should be out has much has possable,..The less she moves the stiffer she will get, she should have alot more turn out, I know its not possible for some people, but it will make her feel alot better..My boy was said to have navicular when I bought him 5 years ago....It was long hard, live and learn experience, but he has not been lame for the last 2 years,..There's not a limp in him..,..Good luck with your girl,..Be strong for her..If you want to know the whole process of what I did for my boy, let me know..I will warn you, it will be a long post.. :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Thanks for the responses. No she does not have a wedge. She comes in the same from turn out as she goes out, of course, unless she has a bug up her butt and decides to run, then she comes in worse!! Bay Lee, she does not like to be out for long periods of time, she starts pacing at the gate, stomping flies, and making her feet more sore. She does go out in the indoor too, but usually just stands around. bubba 13, I will look into some of those options, honestly though I don't want to spend tons of money, I mean I'm willig to spend it if it will work and she won't be as sore, as I can't stand to see her in pain. I just have to think about her age, her usefullness, the fact that I have to board her at $400 a month, which eats up a lot of her budget, lol!! But I will check prices and do some research!!
 

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hi I am fairley new new to the form, I also have a upper level western pleasure mare age 5 reg paint, the 6 months ago .yr june,2013 took her to cornell university. the worstied nithmare navicular. their is no cure only proper management .to with egg bar shoes. I to use smart packs seinpr flex. a good jiont supplement. she has alwas been well taken care of. I know that I will have to let her go she is so young. keep her happy she will let you know .as for me Iam doing everything. I can. I cry alot.Ilove her so. this really sucks.
 

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My mare was diagnosed navicular and put in foal. I bought her when she was just a couple of weeks into her pregnancy and she was very lame. But - and here's the thing, her feet were badly trimmed, way too long at the toes.
2 years on I've now weaned the foal and started the mare (Merlot) in work. She is BAREFOOT and doing beautifully not a trace of a limp (and we have stony hard ground here).
Everything I read about navicular and barefoot trimming said it's not a problem if trimmed properly and kept barefoot and so far, Merlot is proving this theory correct.
If I were you I'd find a really good barefoot trimmer and get her out of any sort of shoe.
Of course your mare is a lot older than Merlot and has had this problem a lot longer, however it might be worth a try :) As Loosie said, Dr Bowker did some brilliant research and hoof rehab (Pete Ramey?) is a great resource also :)
Good luck with this :)
 
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