- 1 What do hoof testers tell you?
- 2 How is navicular diagnosis?
- 3 Which nerve block is a reliable indicator for diagnosing navicular disease?
- 4 What is navicular disease in horses?
- 5 How do you perform a hoof test?
- 6 What is the purpose of a flexion test as a diagnostic tool?
- 7 How do you know if your horse has navicular?
- 8 What is the best treatment for navicular disease?
- 9 What does navicular look like?
- 10 What does it mean when your navicular bone hurts?
- 11 Can navicular horses go barefoot?
- 12 What does it mean to block a horse?
- 13 Can bad shoeing cause navicular?
- 14 Should you buy a horse with navicular?
- 15 Can navicular be managed?
What do hoof testers tell you?
Hoof testers are large steel pincers designed to apply focal pressure to specific areas of the hoof. The primary goal in a hoof tester examination is to test for a pain response, usually indicated by the horse as a withdrawal of the limb.
How is navicular disease diagnosed? Diagnosis is based on a combination of history, symptoms, nerve blocks and radiography. A history of intermittent low grade or recurrent lameness is suggestive of navicular disease.
A reliable diagnostic test is the palmar digital nerve block. Blocking (injecting a local anesthetic) the palmar digital nerves desensitizes the heel area of the foot; therefore, if there is heel pain (which is the case with navicular syndrome) this block partially or totally eliminates the lameness.
Navicular disease in horses is also known as Navicular syndrome. The result is the inflammation or degeneration of the navicular bone and its surrounding tissues, typically in the front feet of the horse. Pain and lameness can also occur in the deep flexor tendon, navicular bursa, or navicular ligaments (Carson).
How do you perform a hoof test?
The examination begins simply by looking at the hoof, preferably from a sufficient distance to compare all four feet at once . The size and shape, toe length, heel length, hoof pastern axis, and position of each foot relative to the each limb and to each other are assessed.
What is the purpose of a flexion test as a diagnostic tool?
The purpose of the standing flexion test is to assess sacroiliac joint dysfunction.
Clinical signs of navicular disease include a short, choppy stride with lameness that worsens when the horse is worked in a circle, as when longeing. Frequent stumbling may occur at all gaits, even the walk, or when horses are asked to step over short obstacles such as ground poles.
Nonsurgical treatment of navicular syndrome consists of rest, hoof balance and corrective trimming/shoeing, and medical therapy, including administration of systemic antiinflammatories, hemorheologic medications, and intraarticular medications.
The navicular bone has the physical shape of a small canoe, which led to the name “navicular” bone; the prefix “navicu” means “small boat” in Latin. The navicular bone is also known as the distal sesamoid bone (the commonly known sesamoid bones behind the fetlock joint are the proximal sesamoid bones).
Fracture and arthritis are common causes of pain. Less common but other important causes of Navicular pain include ligament injury, irritation of low back nerves, and Accessory Navicular syndrome.
Ideally, horses with navicular disease should never go barefoot. Shoes are not only helpful in addressing abnormalities and imbalances, they also provide protection for your horse’s sensitive feet.
What does it mean to block a horse?
Nerve blocking particular leg structures is a method veterinarians can use to help locate, or confirm, the location of pain associated with lameness. Veterinarians will inject an analgesic to numb the nerves in the area suspected to be the source of pain.
Poor hoof shape is usually inherited, although poor shoeing and trimming can contribute to these shapes. With the long toe, low heel conformation can come contracted heels (narrowing of the heel) which further compresses the navicular bone along with sheared heels adding more stress to the tendons and navicular bones.
Navicular disease is a progressive syndrome with limited chances of full recovery. Unless you’re in the business of rescuing animals, then you should always buy a healthy horse. Horses with foot issues will likely need special shoes and require more farrier care than unaffected horses.
Navicular syndrome can be managed to reduce the horse’s pain and minimize excessive stress on the deep digital flexor tendon. A layup period in a stall or small paddock can allow the painful structures to rest and recover. Therapeutic shoeing can improve the horse’s comfort by improving balance and breakover.