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Navicular Pain, Symptoms and Treatment

Navicular Disease is the inflammation or degeneration of the navicular bone and generally occurs on the front feet of a horse. If left untreated navicular may leave a horse permanently lame. To learn more about navicular disease and available treatments, take a look below at the questions that have been answered by Experts.

What are the results of tildren as a treatment for Navicular syndrome?

Many times performance horses are prone to arthritis and navicular disease. Horse owners often seek a treatment that is safe and effective. Tildren is a drug that has been used recently as a treatment for arthritis and navicular.

In human research Tildren appears to have prevented bone re-absorption. Eight European countries have licensed Tildren for use in horses. The United States hasn't approved Tildren for horse use but may be imported if given clearance through the FDA. Tildren is currently treating horses by relieving pain and inflammation in the back of the hoof and arthritis in the hocks.

There was a large study performed in Europe which involved 50 horses suffering with navicular disease. Research revealed that over 60% of the horses treated with Tildren responded well to the treatment and 50% of the horses who were treated were no longer lame at the end research trial. However due to the large variety of navicular types, it may be impossible to determine exactly what structure may be involved from horse to horse.

While the benefits are very promising, some professionals disagree that any improvement may be found with the use of Tildren. However studies have shown marked improvement in horses treated with the drug and may be worth the effort put forth with the FCA to import the drug for treatment of navicular disease and arthritis.

What is the best course of treatment for Level 2 Navicular?

The horse owner has several options as to the treatment of navicular disease. Corrective shoeing may provide the horse with pain relief and may also help hinder the progression of the disease by lessening the pressure of the DDFT and tissues that are affected by the Navicular.

Shoes may include the use of a wide webbed shoe and a rolled toe. The shoe would also need to extend 1/4 inch beyond the hell which will help relieve pressure. By adding a 1 or 2 degree wedge pad to the shoe may provide added support and relieve tension of the navicular bone. An anti-inflammatory may also be used to ease swelling. A veterinarian may be able to provide the horse owner with appropriate dosage. Each horse is different therefore may require different doses.

If the above mentioned treatments fail to provide any improvement, corticosteroid injections may be an option. By using navicular bursa injections, most horses may become sound within 2-4 weeks and may remain sound for at least 8-12 months. The length of soundness usually depends on the activity required by the horse.

If none of the mentioned treatments provide improvement the horse owner may consider one last option which is palmer digital neurectomy. This procedure cuts the nerve supply to the horse's heel which desensitizes the foot. Generally all of the pain is removed and the issue is resolved. However there are draw backs to the neurectomy such as the horse not feeling a foreign object in the foot such as a nail or an abscess. Such occurrences may cause extensive damage before being found. Another issue may involve the navicular becoming worse but the horse is unaware of any pain. This means the horse will bear weight and use the foot when it would otherwise rest it. The result of overuse may be the rupture of the DDFT above the navicular bone. The horse would likely have to be euthanized if this were to occur.

What is a recommended supplement for early stages Navicular disease?

MSM is a natural anti-inflammatory that is commonly used for horses with navicular disease or other forms of musculoskeletal issues. Combining MSM with a quality joint supplement that contains glucosamine and chondroitin may provide the horse relief. The benefits of MSM may take a few weeks (4-6) from the time the supplement is started. There are a variety of joint supplements for horses. Many people ask their veterinarian for suggestions while other people ask other horse owners what they may recommend.

Is desmotomy ever useful in the control of Navicular syndrome?

The use of desmotomy hasn't been used to treat navicular disease in recent years due to a lack of benefit the surgery provided. Studies have shown that there may be swelling in the bone itself and treating the issue with Tildren may be the more effective option.

There are times when a horse may develop navicular disease. When this occurs, many questions arise about treatment. While many things may be done at home, some treatments require professional assistance. If a person has questions or concerns regarding navicular disease, the person should ask an Expert for veterinary insight to horse health.

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