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View Full Version : Navicular-is it likely and what to do about it??



devonlass
17-09-13, 02:26 PM
Hi all just looking for some thoughts and opinions and know this is always the best place for that kind of thing ;-)

I have a middle aged welsh cob who has for the last few weeks been mildly lame on one fore.About 1/10th or not at all in walk but more noticeable in trot,when going downhill and when turned out it is definitely worse on the harder and more uneven ground.

It would seem very much to be a problem in the foot rather than the leg,and am very confident it's in the heel area.

So i am thinking it could be some sort of navicular changes??

I initially tried rest and bute trial,made very little difference.I then called vet to come and nerve block to get to the bottom of it (being unsure at that point whether or not it was a leg issue and potentially something acute and serious),but on morning they were due i trotted him up on the road and he was not noticeably lame,so called them and they agreed no point in attending on the basis that can't rule out what you can't see in the first place!!

Since then it has been more constant,but as i have become more convinced that it is a foot issue and as he seems quite happy generally and not bothered by it,I have been biding my time on vet until have a plan what road to go down.

He is barefoot and has been for almost 18 months,but previously to that was shod all his life.When I got him was shod badly with high heels and long toes,he is still inclined to get high heels if not trimmed regularly or doesn't have enough work to self trim.He is slightly better in boots with a pad in the heel.

So anyones thoughts on if it is likely to be navicular issues from what I have described?? If not then what other things match what symptoms he has??

If it is navicular,what is the usual prognosis in regards to work (he is only a light hack for mainly novice friends as such a safe riding horse),and progression time to more severe lameness?? Or is that a how long is a piece of string question??

Many thanks in advance for all your help :-)

Mudfukkle
17-09-13, 02:46 PM
It could be Navicular issues, but without a proper diagnosis, at the moment all you have is guess work?

You really need a proper diagnosis, it may only be a foot balance problem that could already have been on its way to being sorted.

If it turns out to be Navicular (heel pain) there are a lot of options available

Special shoes
De-nerving
Supplements
Steroid injections into the coffin joint

So, you need to contact a good horse vet and start investigating.

Good luck x

devonlass
17-09-13, 03:25 PM
You really need a proper diagnosis, it may only be a foot balance problem that could already have been on its way to being sorted.

If it turns out to be Navicular (heel pain) there are a lot of options available

Special shoes
De-nerving
Supplements
Steroid injections into the coffin joint

So, you need to contact a good horse vet and start investigating.

Good luck x

Many thanks for the reply :-) (I cannot get used to this new format and cannot find smilies,so apologies if my own not appearing correctly!!).

I am unsure what you mean by the foot balance comment?? He get's trimmed by an excellent trimmer,has been barefoot a while but this problem only came up a few weeks ago.He certainly had foot shape/balance issues when shod,and even now needs keeping on top of with trimming,but generally his feet are very good.
Sorry if totally misunderstood your point!!

I have an excellent horse vet,but am undecided whether to call them out just yet.As I understand it navicular doesn't always show up on scans or xrays?? He doesn't load so could not go to vets and am guessing options are limited when having to do it in the field so to speak.
He is also an absolute pig for the vets (saint to ride,but bolshy and rude on the ground),part of the reason they and I decided to cancel last time is he would be so difficult if not impossible to nerve block anyway that definitely no point if not a lot to see making diagnosis difficult in the first place if see what I mean.

He's not in a lot of pain,what is there seems to be able to be relieved somewhat with boots,if there is not a lot a vet will or can do for navicular (which I get the sense of from reading up online,BUT hence my question on here am not sure??),I am not sure it is worth having them out at this stage.

However I am interested in your comment regarding steroid injections,and if this would be an option for him and relieve all discomfort then would consider that.What is the procedure for that line of treatment would you know??

I would be very reluctant to put shoes on him as i understand they aggrevate navicular?? Also I prefer barefoot for many reasons,but again wouldn't rule it out if it was best option to help,but I'll be honest I would need a LOT of convincing to go down that road.

Supplements,which ones??

De-nerving.Not an option as like i said can't go to vets for surgery,and wouldn't be paying out the kind of money am guessing that costs.Also aren't there lot's of downsides to that as in wouldn't know if anything was ever wrong in the foot as can't feel pain?? Am not comfortable with that aspect of it have to be honest.,would worry me too much I think in the future.

Sorry for long winded reply,and am aware I am limiting with my options,but that's how it is no point me pretending otherwise.

:-)

Leg_end
17-09-13, 03:43 PM
You need a diagnosis as then you will know how to move forward.

If it is navicular then barefoot is the best option IMO. My horse was diagnosed with navicular last year and I sent him to Rockley. He is sound, the bone is coming back and were competing again :)

devonlass
17-09-13, 03:48 PM
Thank you for the reply :-)

Do you have any more info on what getting a diagnosis is likely to involve?? I ask only as from my reading it seems quite a difficult and vague thing to diagnose,especially with the limitations my horse imposes with his aversion to vets *insert rolls eyes smilie here*

He is already barefoot as mentioned in post,has been for almost 18 months and this is only a very recent problem.

Archie73
17-09-13, 03:58 PM
Hi. Have you ruled out laminitis?

Archie73
17-09-13, 04:01 PM
Sorry fingers too fast, reason I ask is that you said he was sound in the morning for vet so I assumed (probably wrongly) that he was in overnight and may have been sounder as had a night rest from grass.

Leg_end
17-09-13, 04:14 PM
He will need a lameness work up and then X-ray or MRI...

devonlass
17-09-13, 04:17 PM
Archie73-Thanks for the thoughts and I will admit I did consider lammi initially but not because he had been in,rather because he lives out and my grass is rather too good unfortunately.

However I manage them very strictly so this should not be an issue,he's not overweight,no pulses,was only one foot,and obviously now have ruled out due it being ongoing.

Thankful it isn't really,would rather have navicular than lammi out of the two I think.

cptrayes
17-09-13, 04:19 PM
Is he heel first landing?

Is his frog stood on the floor when he is on a flat hard surface?

To be honest you can't currently rule out anything and it could easily be something as simple as a bruise or brewing abscess.

cptrayes
17-09-13, 04:23 PM
However I manage them very strictly so this should not be an issue,he's not overweight,no pulses,was only one foot,and obviously now have ruled out due it being ongoing.

.

None of this would rule out a low grade laminitis, especially if associated with the start of metabolic disease. Have you tried him off grass completely?

Is there anything that you can identify as different about the days he is better - including what he did the day before?

devonlass
17-09-13, 04:30 PM
He will need a lameness work up and then X-ray or MRI...

An MRI is out of the question due to cost and his loading issues.

Lameness work up possibly ok certainly happy to give it a bash,although any invasive stuff will be hit and miss depending on his mood lol
X ray probably ok,but depends how agitated he has got himself with the work up.Again though more than happy to try it.

That is assuming though that those procedures aren't ridiculously expensive,and that they can guarantee me a diagnosis at the end of it.

So is what i have read that navicular is often not able to be diagnosed via x ray or scans etc,and is often a best guess based on probability not true??
I thought if changes to bone it is easy to see but if to the surrounding tissues then not so much?? Only what I have read online though maybe not accurate.

Leg_end
17-09-13, 04:36 PM
Mine had bone damage so that was easy to see and diagnose. Final bill for work up and X-rays of both feet was 500.

devonlass
17-09-13, 04:39 PM
Is he heel first landing?

Is his frog stood on the floor when he is on a flat hard surface?

To be honest you can't currently rule out anything and it could easily be something as simple as a bruise or brewing abscess.

I was hoping you would reply ;-)

Right heel first landing- when I first took him out of shoes no he wasn't.After few months yes he was.Last time my trimmer was out and saw him she said he wasn't landing completely heel first (not toe first either though) except when forced to going downhill,which is why I am thinking it is heel pain and is uncomfortable when having to land on the heel??

Yes his frog is on the floor most of the time.Only time it isn't is like recently when not been doing so much to self trim and he then get's his 'high heels' that he is prone to I assume from the days of being badly shod?? Generally though yes I would say he has good frog contact and generally good feet all round.

I don't think it's a bruise TBH,no evidence to suggest and has been going on a little bit too long I would have thought?? Same for an abscess and did get trimmer to check for both of those soon after onset.Have ruled out the obvious stuff,best I can anyway.

cptrayes
17-09-13, 04:42 PM
Navicular changes bear a loose to non existent relationship with lameness. Even if you see them, unless it's broken or spurred, you will be no further forward.

You may, on the other hand, find a pedal bone wing fracture.

You need a vet. Guessing will get you nowhere.

devonlass
17-09-13, 04:58 PM
None of this would rule out a low grade laminitis, especially if associated with the start of metabolic disease. Have you tried him off grass completely?

Is there anything that you can identify as different about the days he is better - including what he did the day before?

I have tried him muzzled on limited grass,he also get's mag-ox if that's relevant.

If it's lammi though wouldn't it be in both feet?? Wouldn't he have other signs like in his actual foot or pulses etc?? As mentioned in original post he is better out on the road and flat ground than on uneven pasture or stony/uneven surface if that helps??
He shows no discomfort or reluctance to move though at anytime,happy to go forward riding and chase my other one round the field to bully him *rolls eyes*.

Cannot distinguish what was different on his better days,although does not appear to be grass related.TBH it is mostly constant but then he will have some days when he seems better than others,but maybe that's just my interpretation or because of surface I'm assessing it on.I also overthink things terribly so it could even be that I sometimes think it's worse than it is,so then other times it seems better if that makes sense??

devonlass
17-09-13, 05:00 PM
Mine had bone damage so that was easy to see and diagnose. Final bill for work up and X-rays of both feet was 500.

That sounds very reasonable compared to what I was thinking it would be!! However I am guessing them that if it's not the bone that's affected would not be so easy?? This is my worry as does seem to be a vague and difficult thing to define if not bone related.

Archie73
17-09-13, 05:47 PM
As CPTrayes says.... Vet but I would remove grass completely for a few days too, lots of rain recently = flush of growth. Also possible abcess so could poultice at same time or a fracture. I would go vet. Good luck.