Navicular Syndrome Explained By Kristi Luehr, Okanagan School of Natural Hoof Care Most horse owners cringe at hearing the words Navicular Syndrome. In the past, it has often meant expensive corrective shoeing and just trying to keep your horse sound for one more season, inevitably resulting in putting him down.
nfortunately, Navicular Syndrome is one of the hardest sub- the volume of the hoof capsule. This sudden increase in volume crejects for a farrier/trimmer to research. It seems that every old ates a vacuum, which pulls blood into the hoof capsule. This pull of text contradicts the next, and every person you talk to has a blood not only nourishes the living tissues in the hoof, but also acts different understanding of the condition. The good news is that tons as a very important hydraulic shock absorber. of new research is being done, and hopefully the equine world will It has been documented over the years that some horses with soon have a better understanding that the best way to treat Navicu- navicular bone changes are perfectly sound, while others without lar Syndrome is to prevent it in the first place, and that it is easy to bone damage can show severe lameness in the rear of the hoof. This do so. is confusing, though, as it has long been taught One of the doctors in the veterinary and at the forefront of navfarrier communities that icular research is Dr. Robthe bone damage hapert Bowker of Michigan pened first and the pain State University. I had associated with Navicular the pleasure of meeting Syndrome was caused by Dr. Bowker at the 2015 the deep digital flexor Equine Education Sumtendon sliding over the mit hosted by Horse rough surface of the Council BC this past damaged navicular bone. spring. Dr. Bowker states A comparison of digital cushion health: on the left is an atrophied DC, while on the right is a healthy that he has identified a Dr. James R. Rooney and thick DC. (Photo from Internet) heel-first landing as the of the American College most important element of Veterinarian Patholoof hoof function and, more importantly, hoof development. He has gists specializes in post-mortem studies of horses. In thousands of determined that, as the hoof impacts the ground heel first, the hoof dead horses he has examined, Dr. Rooney found that the fibrocartiexpands both laterally and from the back to the front, and the con- lages surrounding the flexor tendon and navicular bone were always cave sole descends lower to the ground, thus dramatically increasing damaged if bone deterioration was present. He has not found one single case where the bone was damaged and the fibrocartilage was not. He has, however, found cases where the bone was not yet deteriorated but the fibrocartilage had started to break down. He has learned that the order 30 minutes from Kamloops at Pinantan Lake in which damage occurs is: first the fibrocartilages surrounding the navicular bone, second Inspiration, Education, Fun the fibrocartilages surrounding the deep digitLearn to develop a partnership with horses as you could never imagine. al flexor tendon, third the flexor tendon itself, Our Natural Horsemanship principles are based on developing Trust, Compassion, Language and Leadership on the ground and in the saddle. and finally the navicular bone itself is damAll ages from pony riders to Baby Boomers and Beyond. aged by the rough surface of the damaged Non-competitive. flexor tendon. Simulating a toe-first landing with cadaver horse legs in test machines, Dr. Lake view Guest Cottages and Campground Rooney was able to simulate this exact process Your Horse is Welcome! of deterioration, proving the order in which tisHorsemanship Camps, Art Workshops sues were damaged leading to Navicular SynDressage Naturally drome. The main structure in the front half of Please go to our website for added information: Book your the hoof is the coffin bone. The sole and hoof www.jandanaranch.com Fall Retreat wall are attached to it via the laminae. The Visitors always welcome. NOW! digital cushion and the lateral cartilages form Registration and enquiries: (250) 573-5800 the rear half of the hoof. It is the rear half of the email: email@example.com
10 â€˘ Saddle Up â€˘ September 2015
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