Horses are among mans most favorite animal. They are used for a variety of functions. Though many people may not be aware of this, horses are affected by a lot of diseases. This is because of their environment since they are tamed and lived in control conditions and other interactions which exposes them to these diseases. There are many known infections affecting horses. This article will concentrate on navicular syndrome in horses.
Navicular syndrome, in other places known to as navicular disease, is an infection that culminates in inflammation of the navicular bone of a horse. Inflammatory process could also spread to tissues surrounding the bone. As a result of inflammation, degeneration may occur. This condition is common with the front feet. Poor prognosis could result to lameness. The navicular bone is situated on the back of coffin bone in the horses limb. A number of ligaments and tendons attach this bone. Deep digital flexor tendon and the impar ligament are examples.
Currently, there has be no proof of a single cause of this disease. There are only theories suggesting its cause. The first theory suggest it is due to compression of this bone. Repeated compression of this bone and the deep digital flexor results to degeneration of the cartilage. The main role of a cartilage is to absorb shock on the joint. Degeneration therefore results to erosion thus increased friction.
The second theory faults the stress and tension present in the ligaments to be causing this condition. As you are aware, they experience a lot of strenuous exercises. As a result, there is buildup of tension on the ligaments which may result to inflammation. This could also have an impact on blood supply of the hoof.
There are several contributing factors to this disease. Conformation of the horses feet is the first factor. Some conformations including long toe, low heel conformation contribute to this syndrome. This is because they exert tension or stress on the navicular bone. Poor hoof shape, an inherited condition is also said to be a contributing factor.
Moving on, how the hoof is trimmed and the type of shoe it uses also contributes to this condition. Metal shoe is not good for horses. This is because they limit the normal expansion and contraction of the hoof as the horse moves. They therefore impair blood supply to lower parts. This results to inflammation of the affected parts.
The nature of work and weight of the horse also have an impact. Excessive work on hills leads to tension on the bone. Also, exercise on rugged grounds increases the risk of developing the disease. Regarding the body weight, those with a large body weight directly exert stress on the hoofs. Navicular bone being affected directly.
Signs and symptoms of a horse affected by the disease are easy to identify. Pain on the heels which results to limping of the horse is a common one. Hoof changes and lameness are other expected signs. To avoid and treat this, practice good trimming exercises, good care for hoofs, limited exercises and medications are necessary. Surgery is only done if all the above measures fail.
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