One of the most common causes of chronic forelimb in horses involved in athletics is navicular disease. however, the problem is not commonly heard of in donkeys and ponies. Basically, the disease is a chronic degradation of the equine bone and is generally characterized by focal loss of the medullary architecture and damaged fibrocartilage on the flexor surface of the bone. The bone is normally maintained in place by the help of tendons and ligaments. The tendons, plus the joints, are shielded from concussive forces and pressure by the navicular bone.
The deep digital flexor tendon uses the bone as a pulley. As a result, it takes the pressure off the pressure on the coffin bone while moving. However, the precise causes of navicular disease are presently unknown. However, blood obstruction or bone trauma might result in the destruction of the navicular bone. The horse is also at the risk of becoming disabled once the navicular bursa, ligaments, and deep flexor tendon are destroyed. Horses with this disease will naturally experience low-grade bilateral lameness on their front feet, and the condition tends to worsen slowly with time.
The lameness may only occasionally happen when the horse is worked on hard ground or in a small circle. Sometimes, one of the front feet is severely damaged than the other. In this case, the lameness is more visible. You will know if your horse is suffering from this condition if it stands most of the time with the foot that hurts in front of the other. However, navicular disease can only be effect diagnosed through a mix of radiography, the horse’s history, and through nerve blocks. If the condition is intermittent low or recurring, it suggests that the horse is suffering from navicular disease.
When horses are affected by this condition, they often seem to be placing their toes down first, like they are trying to avoid putting weight on the heels of their feet. The lameness brought on by this disease can be improved or lessened by injecting with a local anesthetic over the nerves responsible for sensitizing the rear half of the foot. The anesthetic can also be injected into the navicular bursa. Damages done on the navicular bone are visible through radiographs, including x-rays. However, it is always challenging to assess bone alterations because there are conflicting views on what constitutes normal bone growth. MRI can also be used to display the injured parts of the soft tissues and ligaments.
Although navicular disease can be managed, it is quite difficult to cure. However, it is crucial for someone to perform corrective shoeing and trimming so that the correct foot fall and balance can be achieved. To promote strong heel support, horse owners use rolled-toe egg bar shoes on their horses. In many circumstances, using medication such as phenylbutazone will help reduce the pain experienced and allow the horse to heal quickly. Long-term use of medications such as aspirin might enhance the flow of blood to the navicular bone and enhance its health.